Since its announcement little has been heard of Nvidia's ION platform but according to Nvidia's Drew Henry we should see systems by Q2. News which comes alongside word that the Ion platform has received Premium WHQL certification - for all that's worth to anyone.
The plan is to see systems retailing in the $299 (~£211) region - about the price of a single GeForce GTX 260 for reference. Obviously Nvidia doesn't have much control over pricing, though. Intel can charge what it likes for Atom CPUs and OEMs can do likewise with ION-based desktops. That said, the performance of these PCs will help regulate the pricing somewhat. If 'real' desktops are available for not much more the temptation of an ION system will be much diminished.
Henry advises the first wave of systems are expected to look pretty different to Nvidia's ION reference design (pictured). Considering Nvidia's Ion platform boasts GPU-accelerated 1080p decoding it won't be surprising if at least a couple of machines have a media-centre bent, rather than just a straight computing orientation. Integrated optical drives, better concealed port layouts and larger chassis wouldn't be a surprise.
If Nvidia and its partners can deliver on the promise of low cost but capable PC systems it should be onto a winner. Certainly, the company needs something to help improve its financials. I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on an ION system as soon as I possibly can.