The 'Post-PC' Era Is Here -- But Don't Junk Your PC Yet

Has the much-discussed "post-PC era" finally begun? The term has been tossed about for years by industry executives and pundits alike. Its most recent high-profile use came during in March, when the Apple CEO/guru called the iPhone, iPod, and iPad "" that needed to be more intuitive and easier to use than conventional desktops or laptops.

Well, add to the list of industry watchers who believe the post-PC era has begun. In a new report released Tuesday, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says that computing devices--and how we interact with them--are currently undergoing a dramatic shift to:

· Ubiquitous computing: Mobile devices with sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and geolocators are freeing us from the stationary limitations of desktop PCs.

· "Casual" computing: Instant-on/always-on smartphones and tablets remove the formal boot up/shutdown process of the desktop.

· A more intimate experience: Tablets and smartphones are kept close to your body, whereas using a laptop or desktop is "arms-length activity," writes Epps in a . This means that consumers are using computing devices in intimate places, including the bedroom. Sounds like a boon to couples' therapists to me.

· Physical interaction with devices: Touchscreens, voice input, motion-sensing devices such as Microsoft Kinect, and cameras with facial recognition allow your "body and voice" to control the machine. By comparison, the desktop's mouse/keyboard interface is more abstract and less personal.