NVIDIA CEO Interview – Ion, Netbooks, etc. (LAPTOP Mag)

NVIDIA Yesterday we mentioned that NVIDIA is telling people to speak up if they want to see companies selling products with NVIDIA’s new Ion platform. LAPTOP Magazine has conducted an extensive review with Jen-Hsun Huang, the co-founder, president, and CEO of NVIDIA, and he talked about the ION platform as well as netbooks and the impact on various industries (including the software industry).

No word on when Ion will hit the market, but a very nice bit of information to come out of this is that he believes the target price for an Ion-based device is $399. Good news for those of us interested in the Ion platform – this could very well be the biggest thing since the Intel Atom came out, since it’s adding a GeForce 9400M to the mix. The 9400M would be a huge increase in the graphics power of netbooks and would open up a lot of applications.

I believe the most interesting things that Huang discussed were not about NVIDIA’s plans, but about the competition, VIA, and netbooks in general.

His opinion on the current state of netbooks is that they need work on the hardware side, saying that that a netbook is a low-cost PC that doesn’t work that well. We all know that there’s a price point around $299 to $399 where people would love to buy a new PC.” He also comments on the current Intel Atom and current 945/GMA 950 platform, saying it “would get crushed by the Neo platform” (Neo is AMD’s potential netbook platform).

He also believes netbooks have had a negative impact on software because they are “creating an installed base that doesn’t run modern applications.” I agree quite a bit with this. Many people would love to run some of the newer games on their netbooks, and while I can certainly sympathize with them, and there are plenty of games that would compliment a netbook, I’m thinking more in terms of overall processing power. Those of us with netbooks have run into applications that were very slow. Yes, we are doing more with netbooks than what they were designed for, but that’s going to happen.

A major surprise is that he states that they’ll be supporting VIA’s Nano CPU with the Ion platform “in the near future“, because he believes “Nano is a fabulous processor. You could argue that it’s architecturally one generation beyond Atom. He clarifies that the Nano won’t be supported with the current Ion platform, but instead the next generation Ion platform.

Overall, if you are interested in a unique perspective on netbooks, as well as a peak at where they are headed, it’s well worth a read.

Read: LAPTOP Magazine