We've been hearing (and waiting) for a big update to Intel's Atom platform. While Nvidia's Ion does give the Atom a completely different character, Intel is still the one who will decide the direction of the next-generation of netbooks and nettops.
There's been a lot of talk of the upcoming Pineview Atom processor, which integrates graphics and memory controller and combines with a southbridge to form the Pine Trail platform.
As long as Intel isn't delayed in delivering Pine Trail, we should be seeing the first of the new generation this year.
Current Atom chips found in most machines run at around 1.6 GHz, which will likely be the same clock frequency for the Pineview Atom N450 whenever it launches. The new platform will get its performance increase from the updated and integrated architecture, which will also realize power savings.
According to French site blogeee.net, Intel will next year roll out the Atom N470, which cranks the clock speed up to 1.83 GHz. The report says that the Atom N470 will have thermal design power of 6.5 W, which is a bit more than the 2.5 W for the N270, but should see an overall savings as it does away with the separate memory controller and graphics chip.
Hopefully we'll be seeing Pine Trail soon, and even faster parts by CES in January 2010.