The first NVIDIA ION2-based netbooks are expected by late May, but Engadget now reports that the first wave of these systems will not be equipped with NVIDIA Optimus technology. ASUS made this choice to be the first to market with the next-generation ION platform, versions with Optimus support will follow afterwards. It will not be possible to add Optimus via a firmware upgrade, because the hardware isn't there for the automatic switching.
While we told you earlier this week that the Ion 2-powered ASUS Eee PC 1201PN wouldn't be arriving until late May, a number of European sites have gotten early review samples of the 12-inch "netbook" -- if you choose to call it that -- and have discovered that it doesn't use NVIDIA's Optimus automatic graphics switching technology. That's right, instead we're told by NVIDIA that the discrete GeForce 201M GPU runs continuously and Intel's integrated chip is never used -- a configuration which sounds like it'll absolutely kill the battery life on this machine.