Ion arrives

Posted: 04.07.09

We have just learned that the illegitimate, and subsequently abandoned child of Creüsa, daughter of Erechtheus and wife of Xuthus, Ion, has been seen in Taiwan hiding in a slick looking blue box that… What? Oh. Never mind, wrong Ion.

Let’s start over.

Ion Candy Box

The dark chocolate found in stores all over Greece is being melted into a new blue box from…

OK, I got this time – don’t interrupt me again.

Acer is going to build a really slick little blue box with a positively or negatively charged atom in it, and a regular Atom, which Acer will call AspireRevo. The positively or negatively charged atom, more commonly known as an Ion, is from Nvidia’s particle accelerator in Santa Clara. Nvidia shoots those Ions to Taiwan where Acer has a special collector. Acer then repackages them in a radiation proof cobalt blue box about the size of a Wii, and offers the assembled nuclear power plant for something south of $300 depending on where you buy it, which can be Asia, Europe, and eventually the North America. (We’re always last to get the good stuff – I’m sure that’s George Bush’s fault.)

This is a cool thing, both in looks and in what it means for Nvidia. Those of you who just got out of solitary confinement and not following the news will be interested to learn that since Nvidia introduced their Ion platform last December they have been like Sisyphus pushing the particle up Intel’s hill, only to be knocked back down. But with the patience of Strenua and the determination of Ares, Nvidia kept trying to convince ODMs and OEMs they could make a better low-cost PC with an Ion platform than anything else in the universe.

Acer's New Box

Acer was the first to come forward and show what could be done. And, Nvidia has told me they have 40 – four-zero more design wins in the chute (with Atom, Celeron, and Core2Duo processors) and will be popping them out for the rest of the year – Greek chocolate bars optional.

You can expect to see a lot of “Notebooks (note – not, “NET books”), some more non-mobile PCs, some new devices called “all-in-ones,” and some embedded things like monitors with a PC in them (think iMac like.)

I was recently asked to opine on the PC market going forward, and concluded my diatribe by pointing out that we have a new consumer, one who will be more interested in value for money and less frivolous things, and will buy on a need not a want basis. A $300 computer that can be hung on the back of your monitor is definitely going to fit that requirement.

However, a $300 PC isn’t going to have a very high ASP or margin for Intel, Nvidia, the ODM, or the OEM. If Nvidia takes $20 to the bank for every one they sell, they’re going to have move tens of millions a quarter to make this a significant business. The odds are in their favor that volume can be reached due to market expansion from price elasticity and the new consumer attitude. Price elasticity may expand the market by 3 to 5%, the rest is cannibalization.

And here you can read the shocking story of that bastard Ion.