Imagining the Post-PC, Mobile-First World to Come

Dan Engel Commentary

Here’s what everyone wants to know. Not who’s going to win the battle of mobile vs. desktop, but what civilization will look like once mobile has vanquished all other machines.


Yes, I just saw this on DaringFireball, the deservedly popular tech blog of John Gruber. He reports a poll asking “Which Is the Most Important Device You Use to Connect to the Internet?” Back in 2013, laptops and desktops grabbed the vast majority at 74%, leaving 24% for the mobile-loving crowd. But now just two years later, the poll showed a major shift. Mobile machines are now claiming the allegiance of 52%, with smartphones taking command at 33%.

DaringFireball’s bottom line: we now inhabit a post-PC world.

Exactly. We’re living in a mobile-first world of change. It’s a world where mobile devices are ubiquitous and form a permanent appendage to the modern person. That oh-so-convenient smartphone functions as an extension of our brains and an umbilical cord to the information we need and the people we love.

Consider these 3 cases (all deserving more contemplation than I’m going to offer here).

Angry Birds on the March

Now I know my son might vigorously dispute this, but new data says that in 2015 mobile games will surpass their older siblings – the slicker, vastly more complicated video games playing on Xbox and PlayStation consoles. That’s right. Mobile games are on track to take the major share in revenue and earn $30.3 billion this year. They are speeding past video games with all their multi-track narratives and eye-popping (and gory) vivid detail. Angry Birds and its mobile-first progeny now rule.

Internet of Things

The futuristic “Internet of things” is about machines – whether your thermostat, your roasting turkey or your BMW – being computerized and linked online. Once wired, they can be programmed, monitored, analyzed and regulated to achieve maximum efficiency and utility. My hometown of sunny Santa Barbara, for instance, just threw onto the web real-time info on where parking spaces are available in every public parking structure throughout the city. Meanwhile, Gartner predicts that in just five short years Internet-connected things will outnumber humans 4-to-1.

My point? When there needs to be a decision made, you’re gonna want that information fast and direct, no matter where you are hanging. If your heater is going to blow a gasket or the cat is about to hatch a litter of cute kittens, you will want that alert blinking red on your phone. Your mobile device is a natural and necessary component of the wondrous Internet of things.

At Work and Play

IT guys and gals used to joke that BYOD (bring your own devices) meant wiring the CEO’s iPad so they could read their email. Instead companies are now seeking to enable and manage the mobile transition. Whether it’s accessing your work email, calendar and Google documents or conducting online meetings, the device of choice is often your phone or tablet. declares:

Devices are incredibly personal. They’re in people’s hands and in their pockets. If you have something that is exceeding expectations, it draws them into the organization. It can be a catalyst for organizational change. Bringing life into the forcefield. Making them know that they’re wanted and the work they are doing is important.

Simply put, mobile is a force to be embraced. It’s a vortex that’s inevitably altering how we work and how we live. Mobile first is a tsunami sweeping over us, knocking us off our feet. And when we come bobbing up for air, gasping and sputtering, we’re going to see a world transformed – different and unrecognizable. And, I’m having a blast imagining what that world is going to be like.

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Photo courtesy of Scott Akerman/Flickr