NVIDIA To Unveil New "Optimus" Mobile Technology At CES
That's quite vague, even by the standards of pre-CES announcements. Team Green is evidently trying to whip up a bit of hype over this new, battery-life-enhancing technology, but it hasn't actually said anything about its capabilities. If we had to hazard a guess at the new major feature of Optimus, assuming there is one, we'd bet NVIDIA has developed a way to shut down significant parts of the GPU when those areas of the chip are not in use.
This would be a logical step forward. GPUs are implementing more CPU-like features with every generation; moving towards this type of power saving mirrors the development of CPU technologies like SpeedStep over the past ten years. The ability to shut down specific parts of a GPU could also be viewed as an extension of Hybrid SLI, which allows users to pair an integrated and discrete GPU for 3D performance, while shutting the discrete card off completely when in 2D mode in order to reduce power consumption. Blending that functionality into a single chip would reduce motherboard complexity and thereby manufacturing cost, while offering the "seamless and transparent" operation NVIDIA refers to in the blog post above.
NVIDIA's original ION chipset. Ion 2 will be more GPU-centric, as Intel has integrated additional chipset functionality into the latest iteration of the Atom processor.