Reading Forrester: What the Post PC era really means

Sarah Rotman Epps: Senior Analyst, Forrester

Forrester has a new report out today that maps out the post-PC era of computing.  (Paid report here) Its written from a product development point of view and has some good information but leaves out one of the biggest and most interesting post-PC platforms: telematics.

In her post, Sarah Rotman Epps discusses the implications of new technology and social habits on consumer product strategies.

“So what does “post-PC” mean, anyway? It doesn’t mean that the PC is dead: Forrester Research forecasts that even in the US, a mature market, consumer laptop sales will grow at a CAGR of 8% between 2010 and 2015, and desktop sales will decline only slightly. Even in 2015, when 82 million US consumers will own a tablet, more US consumers will own laptops (140 million). But, as Forrester explains in a new report out today, it does mean that computing is shifting from:

  • Stationary to ubiquitous. Contrast the experience of computing on a desktop PC, in one place with a clear start and finish time, to that of the anytime/anywhere computing done on a smartphone or tablet. Ubiquitous computing is also more context-aware computing, aided by sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes, and geolocators in smartphones and tablets.
  • Formal to casual. In contrast to PC interactions with a formal start and finish time marked by booting up and shutting down, instant-on/always-on computing on smartphones and tablets fills in-between moments like standing in line or watching TV.
  • Arms-length to intimate. With desktops, computing is literally an arms-length activity. With portable form factors like laptops, netbooks, and tablets, computers become something consumers keep close to their body, and they use them in intimate places: The No. 1 place all three devices are used in the home is the living room, followed by an adult’s bedroom.
  • Abstracted to physical. The mouse/keyboard paradigm relies on an abstracted interaction with content. Touchscreens like those on smartphones and tablets enable direct physical manipulation of content in two-dimensional space. Cameras with facial recognition, voice sensors, and motion sensors like those on the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 permit an even wider range of physical interaction with devices, where a user’s body and voice become the controller.”

PCs Persist along With new Form Factors in The Post-PC Era

In the research report Forrester highlights the three key stages for the emerging post_PC product design world:

“Stage 1: Augment Existing Products To Support The Post-PC Consumer

Stage 2: launch Next-generation Products To lead The Post-PC Consumer To New Territory

Stage 3: Build New Product Infrastructure For The Next Phase of Post-PC Innovation”

Nothing revolutionary there but still its Forrester.  I am surprised that there is no mention of telematics.  Its one of the biggest changes in the post-PC world and still is way under most people’s radar.

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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