It's only now that Nvidia Ion-based netbooks are hitting the scene, which finally means that the Intel Atom chip is paired with some decent graphical muscle. Given the growing utility of the GPU for more than just 3D, the Ion is a blessing to the modest Atom.
With Intel's next generation Atom, codenamed Pineview, on the Pine Trail platform, having on-chip graphics, the Nvidia Ion might be in no-man's land. (The mainstream notebook parts built on the Westmere platform, codenamed Arrandale, will also have integrated graphics, but Nvidia doesn't have the license to design chipsets for Nehalem-based CPUs.)
Rather than just let the Ion die out, Nvidia is poised to release a follow-up as soon as later this year, according to various reports. While it's still unknown if the Ion will be paired with Pineview, the next-generation Ion will support a broader range of CPUs.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said earlier this year that the next iteration of the Nvidia Ion will support the VIA Nano, which is regarded as being much more powerful than the Atom. The next Ion is also believed to work with Intel's CULV offerings, meaning support for Celerons, Pentiums and Core 2 chips.
If Ion-based netbooks and nettops are a hit, hopefully we'll get to see the next-generation Ion expand to other CPUs before the end of 2009.