by Brian Burke

There was lots of news at today’s Windows 7 Launch by Microsoft in New York. Something that may have gotten lost in the larger storm was that NVIDIA received a partner award for how the NVIDIA ION chip is changing tiny PCs.

By combining an NVIDIA ION GPU with an Atom processor, we are able to deliver premium PC performance and features in a low-cost, small form factor.

Netbooks –  inexpensive, highly portable devices that act somewhat like notebooks but lack their oomph – have had a reputation for being weak, and incapable of running today’s more demanding applications.

Thanks to ION — a small but high-powered GPU that runs together with a low-end CPU — that’s no longer the case. I can’t put it much better than MobileTechReview.com:

“If we gave Editor’s Choice awards to technologies rather than products, we’d give one to NVIDIA for their ION platform. It will shift the netbook from web surfing and email machine to a movie and gaming portable.”

Introduced earlier this year, ION-based devices have blurred the distinction between netbook and notebook.

They provide new capabilities you’d never find in your mom’s netbook — HD video, accelerated media conversion, faster overall performance under Windows 7 and gaming capabilities. They can also run Flash video. On ordinary netbooks, SD or HD flash videos are simply unwatchable. We’re working with Adobe to accelerate Flash across all NVIDIA GPUs to deliver a seamless, stutter-free experience on SD and HD videos on your favorite sites. But they’re priced far under a notebook.