We haven't been the only ones impressed with the performance of Nvidia's Ion platform. Turns out Microsoft is in the same court.
Today Nvidia announced that its Ion platform, which merges Intel's Atom CPU with its 9400M graphics chipset, has been certified by Microsoft. While we saw Vista Enterprise run without a problem on the Ion Reference PC, the announcement is merely Microsoft validating that the hardware platform is certified for the Vista Home Premium OS. Beyond Vista, Nvidia also demoed today the ability to run different versions of Windows 7 on the Ion platform. Windows 7 has not been certified yet for Ion.
Unlike Intel's current Atom platform, Ion will support Microsoft’s DirectX 10 API and premium Windows Vista features including Aero Glass and Flip3D. Of course, Microsoft's support of the platform that can enable these features is no surprise considering it has lost significant cash from bundling Windows XP with low cost netbooks. This news also comes on the heels of reports that Microsoft will enable vendors to sell Windows 7 Starter Edition on netbooks, which will limit the number of applications you can use at a time.
Nvidia still maintains that the first Ion powered netbooks will hit the market by the summer and could be as low as $299.