Nvidia announced today a new platform for netbooks called "Ion", which includes its 9400M graphics chip and together with the Intel Atom CPUS, it promises to bring HD graphics to netbooks.
Announced earlier this year, Nvidia's 9400M graphics ship has already been powering the graphics of Apple's Macbooks. This time Nvidia seems to be ready to compete with the chipsets that are being currently used in the Intel Atom-based netbooks, offering a graphics solution that it is cheap and significantly more powerful.
Nvidia's "Ion" platform actually attaches to the Intel Atom CPU but it also replaces the legacy 3-chip design with a two-chip marriage between the GeForce 9400M and Atom.
Once implemented in actual netbook models - sometime in the middle of 2009 according to Nvidia, it will offer a very full function PC solution packed in the small-sized netbook cases. Nvidia has actually promised 5x faster graphics and 10x faster video transcoding than a standard Atom-powered netbook running on Intel's current platform.
Ion promises to bring high-definition capabilities or even gaming in the netbooks, and it is expected to offer better support for Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows 7 operating system.
What is lest to see is whether Nvidia will be able to compete with Intel's IGP (integrated graphics processor) solutions in terms of pricing, in an effort to convince netbook makers to adopt the Ion platform.