press conference earlier today in Taipei, Taiwan, Nvidia got an official endorsement of its ION platform by Microsoft. This is going to make it a lot harder for Intel to decline to support the platform, although we're sure the company is doing its best to ignore it.
Drew Henry, the general manager for the MCP business at Nvidia and Rene Haas, the general manager for Nvidia's notebook business unit were hosting the press conference alongside Jack Huan, Senior Director for Microsoft's OEM business in Asia and Cathy Yeh, Senior Manager for the Windows client business group at Microsoft.
Nvidia was saying that the so called netbooks are really just cheap notebooks and that so far they don't meet the expectations of the consumers that purchase them. Drew Henry told us that the return rate figures in the channel is as high as 35 percent, which is not a small figure considering the sales figures from the manufacturers.
One of the major concerns is the OS, as the current crop of netbooks aren't powerful enough to run the premium versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, which was the key message of today's press conference. You can see a quote below from Mike Ybarra, the General Manager for Windows, which goes on to endorse the ION platform and how good it is for Windows Vista Home Premium.
Nvidia was also showing off a range of demo's, including 1080p video playback, video encoding with Badaboom of 720p video while the 1080p video was still running, as well as Left 4 Dead which was running at 1,280x720 resolution and seemed to play quite smooth. Considering that the test system had a dual core Atom 330 CPU as well as the Nvidia 9400M chipset, this was pretty impressive.
Microsoft has also WHQL certified the ION platform as of today. At the same time, the first beta drivers for Windows 7 should be available from Nvidia, although we're not sure if this is limited to their partners. At the time of publishing, no drivers were to be found for Windows 7 on the Nvidia website.