I would agree with you it's not certain on Merom. However on 3 occasions now there has been news of people actually dropping Merom into current Yonah notebooks, rebooting and having it work. Were it not for this independent testing I wouldn't be as strong behind this. Could it still fail on the proprietary hardware in the 1710? Yep. So it's not guaranteed. However having folks drop it into random notebooks (MSI as one I recall by brand name but not model #) and having it work, gives a strong evidence that is the goal from Intel. This is being done to combat the 64 bitness of the dual core AMD chips coming and it was planned. That's not guarantee but its extremely good motivation. Hence why I gave a 95% chance.
DX10 I'd agree. But again the market economics speak that the notebook market is exploding and in no small part due to notebooks finally having a small but possible upgrade path. There is a reasonable motivation in the industry (especially by Nvidia) to make that a viable sales channel. That way they sell to the upgraders as well as the new machines. It's not rocket science. Dell likes the idea too if its relatively problem free (support is expensive). Otherwise buyers only come to buy new notebooks every 2-3 years. If they can manage to sell a buyer a $500 replacement part every year during that time, they increase profit. Would those buyers upgrade a whole notebook if that card wasn't available? Yes but only a small % would due to the cost. So the motivation is there on the sellers part but can it be done on the heat and power budget set up in the 1710 for the gpu? That is a question mark, but Nvidia has done a gradually better job at keeping power and heat in check on newer gpu designs. Since the G80 is at least a 90nm and possibly a 65nm design, that seems likely to continue. That gives a reasonable chance, high motivation to sell, reasonable engineering ability to deliver a product, that there will be a G80 to fit the 1710. Remember the final thing too. The XPS2 got 300% more popular when the 7800 came out and people could drop that into the 6800 machines. Buyers bought that machine in droves. Even the 9300 and 9400 remained popular for similar hopes. Dell isn't ignoring that angle. If you see they bought Alienware they know where the rabid purchasers are, and they are seeking them out. They won't ignore basic business for sure, but bet they know what makes the XPS business machine tick and they'll feed that machine to withdraw cash for as long as they can manage.
So I give the G80 a 75% possible.
There you go