6:04 p.m.: Lenovo is turning a lot of heads Sunday with the introduction of a new computing form factor.
It’s being called Ideacentre, and basically it’s a 27-inch tablet that lies flat and allows multiple users at the same time. The multitouch interface is a Linux-based operating system.
By tilting the Ideacentre, it switches over to Windows 8 and the operating system’s live tile user interface.
The Ideacentre goes on sale this summer and is expected to cost from $999 to $1,700, depending on the configuration.
5:46 p.m.: Chubby fingers getting in the way of your iPhone’s touch screen?
A significant portion of a touch screen gets covered up by a user’s fingers when scrolling through pictures or text, or when playing games. Sensus, a plastic case no bulkier than a typical protective smartphone case, uses sensors to add touch-screen sensitivity to the back and sides of the iPhone.
The case snaps onto the phone, and you can play games by touching the back of the case and scroll through text by sliding your finger down the side of the case. Instead of pressing the touch screen to snap a photo, you can press on the side.
Canopy Co. showed off the touch-sensitive case at Unveiled, the first of the media events ahead of the show’s official opening Tuesday.
The case is slated to go on sale this summer. It will be priced from $59 to $99, said Ian Spinelli, a marketing coordinator at Canopy.
The Minneapolis company is also developing similar cases for the iPod Touch and iPad mini.
Another upside: no more fingerprints on your touch screen.
5:26 p.m.: Belkin unveiled what it says is the world’s first surround-sound case for the iPad tablet.
Billed as a “handheld home theater,” the Thunderstorm is a form-fitting case that protects the iPad the same way other cases do, but the Thunderstorm differentiates itself by adding a large speaker along one of the side edges of the iPad.
Belkin displayed the $199.99 case at Unveiled, the first of the show’s sneak-peek events. The loud crowd at the event at Mandalay Bay made it hard to gauge the sound quality of the Thunderstorm, but the speaker was so loud it physically shook the tablet computer.
5:14 p.m.: There was bound to be a smart utensil. At Unveiled, the show’s first media sneak-peek event, Hapilabs showed off its new Hapifork product: a set of utensils that the company says will “help you lose weight.”
The “smart electronic” fork and spoon pair, created by Frenchman Jacques Lepine, are equipped with sensors that cause vibrations when users take too many bites too quickly.
A built-in USB port and eventually a Bluetooth function also allow users to track meal times, the number of “fork servings” a minute and other details.
4:21 p.m.: Although all the numbers aren’t in, 2012 proved to be a bummer in terms of tech spending, according to two panelists at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Despite a projection for modest growth last year, global tech spending fell 1% last year. This coming year, the global tech market is projected to grow 4% to $1.1 trillion in 2013. That modest growth will be led by developing and emerging markets in Asia and Middle East and Africa markets.
By comparison, spending in Japan and Western Europe is expected to remain weak. The U.S. should have slight growth. But the analysts emphasized it is these new markets that will drive tech spending.
-- Chris O’Brien
3:42 p.m.: The Consumer Electronics Assn., the organizers of CES, kicked off the annual technology convention Sunday afternoon with a discussion of technology trends to watch in 2013.
Among them: the growth of connected devices; the increasing importance of data; better screen resolutions for TVs, smartphones and tablets; and improvements in gesture and voice control.
Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the electronics association, also singled out the “post-smartphone era,” in which 65% of mobile use is now for non-communication -- a swift change from just a few years ago, when talking on the phone was the main purpose of having a mobile phone. Now, smartphones and tablets are less communication devices and more hardware hubs for “peripheral services,” he said.
“We’re spending a bulk of our time on those devices doing other activities,” DuBravac said. “The smartphone is literally becoming the viewfinder for your digital life."
Later Sunday, throngs of reporters will attend CES Unveiled, a media-only event showcasing new technologies and gadgets from a select group of companies.
-- Andrea Chang