published Sunday, December 30th, 2012

No PC? No problem, some say: Smartphones, tablets, other devices handle many tasks once done by PCs

The only time that Mark Swafford powers up his desktop PC is when he wants to play games.

The rest of the time, the 42-year-old says, a smartphone suffices.

"If it wasn't for my smartphone, I couldn't get anything done at work," says Swafford, a tour driver at Volkswagen. "I don't really miss my computer. On my Droid, I can check emailo, Facebook and communicate, so why have a PC?"

As smartphones, tablets, Internet-connected TVs and other devices take over the everyday functions formerly served by a desktop PC, users say the technology has fundamentally altered day-to-day life.

Strat Parrott, 28, a digital strategist for Juncture, a local marketing agency specializing in social media, says access to always-on Internet connectivity and smart devices are integral to post-PC life.

Although he occasionally suffers temporary confusion when he encounters screens that aren't touch-sensitive, Parrott says the power of second-screen devices has freed people by cutting the umbilical cords anchoring people to their PCs.

"People are no longer tied to their desks; they can do work from anywhere," he says. "You don't need that behemoth of a computer at your desk to do your work or have fun."

Despite the hyper-functionality of second-screen devices, locals agree the desktop PC will always be needed by more advanced users.

Without the processing power and ease of input possible on a PC, content creation is next to impossible, says Donald Sayers, 25, a computer technician with local computer and smartphone repair service iFixie. The post-PC era hasn't fully arrived, he says, and it won't until tablets and smartphones can be used to create software applications and other meaningful content.

"That will be the nail in the coffin," he says. "Without the creators of the world ... these devices are useless, and most of them are using desktops or laptops. Until serious creators can sit down with a tablet or smartphone and create something that reaches out to people for generations, we've not moved past PCs."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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