The GeForce FX did become commercially available during 2002. NVIDIA manufactured and sold these chips in 2002 to board makers,...
Big companies contract sales out 2 product cycles in advance, if they can. They sell 'futures', but that doesn't mean the product is or ever will be available. I'd wager ATi could show they had at least 1 'future' sale of the 9xxx series back in 2001. I'd bet Apple has already 'paid' IBM for PowerPC chips that will come out in 2004/2005.
Future sales offset R&D costs & OEM's/retail vendors aren't going to wait 'til something is announced & stand in line if they can get a 'foot in the door' prior to the product getting off the drawing board. The smart companies (in todays economy) won't even proceed with production until they have those contract$ in hand. That's what the sales dept is for.
Gonna be funny when the 'Award Winner' is also the least sold retail store card of 2002/2003. ... especially since nVidia already said no GFFX Ultras will be sold in retail stores > only 'pre-order' for the Ultra.