Toys, toys, toys. I love to read about new toys, especially sleek sports cars and nifty computerized gadgets. This week has been a bonanza—from two different directions.

You might think my focus would be on the big annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but actually I’ve been more keenly following the happenings at the North American International Auto Show, which kicked off on Jan. 9.

Dozens of exciting cars and concept vehicles were introduced at the NAIAS (also known as the Detroit Auto Show), including a smokin’ hot Acura NSX supercar, the futuristic Lexus LF-LC, a new Mini Roadster, the four-door Porsche Panamera Turbo R, the fast-looking Mercedes SL550, the BMW i8 electric car… the list goes on and on.

A big part of the news from Detroit overlapped what was also talked about at the Consumer Electronics Show. Sure, CES features lots of “ultrabook” lightweight notebook computers, incredibly thin televisions, high-definition digital cameras, three-dimensional printers, even electric razors. But automotive computers were very much front and center.

There’s a lot more to computerized cars than iPod jacks or even streaming Pandora on the 28-speaker Bose sound system. Companies like BMW, Ford and Mercedes-Benz are integrating phone applications with vehicles’ onboard computers. The smartphone sends the car e-mail and text messages. The car sends back real-time diagnostics. I’m told you can even make phone calls!

Soon, you will update your car’s firmware as often as you update your smartphone’s apps.

To change the subject only slightly: Let’s talk about developing smartphone software. You know that BZ Media—the company behind SD Times and News on Monday—produces developer conferences for Android and iPhone/iPad developers. We are proud to announce support for another platform at WPDevCon: The Windows Phone Developer Conference.

WPDevCon is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area on Oct. 22–24, 2012. We are currently assembling a full slate of workshops and technical classes, and the program will be ready in early March. However, we invite you to check out the website,, and of course mark your calendar if you or your colleagues are interested in attending.

Want to propose a class? See the Call for Speakers and then drop me a line. Interested in exhibiting? Contact my colleague Adam Teichholz.

Which is more interesting to you: the latest cars at the Detroit Auto Show or the snazzy gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show? Write me at

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Read his blog at