It's hardly a secret that even though nVidia's Ion chipset is pretty nifty in low-power, low-cost systems, the combination of an Atom CPU and Vista is hardly the best - as evidenced by the Acer Aspire Revo. But fear not, nVidia appears to have a solution at hand in the form of Ion LE.
Sneakily pushed out with a complete lack of fanfare, Ion LE is identical to the Ion we already know and love, except, says nVidia's Igor Stanek: "it only supports DX9. This product is designed specifically for Windows XP on Netbooks and Nettops and we are going to offer LE SKU just for OEM market. "
The idea is that OEMs wishing to offer only Windows XP - which therefore have no need for DirectX 10 support - can get hold of an Ion chipset unable to run DX10. It's likely that Microsoft will likely charge less for Windows licences on systems bereft of DX10 support.
Of course, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 will run quite happily on a system without a DX10-capable graphics chip, but given the poor performance on Ion systems of the former and the loss of functionality the latter sans DX10 it seems unlikely any user would want an Ion LE system with either OS on it.
nVidia suggests we should see systems shortly, so we'll just have to wait and see what's what.