I think one of the challenges of creating new classes for 4E is the sheer number of powers and abilities someone needs to put to paper. Then balancing all these to what would be considered a decent at-will, encounter, or daily power. It’s a huge task. Some folks have taken a stab at it like at Dungeonmaster’s.com with their Necromancer class.
I think the new Player’s Handbook 3 and the introduction of augmented powers is a possible solution to this. Working with power points and augmenting a select number of powers is a little easier to work with. Bolstering a low level power with a small boost in damage, defenses, or attack for a ‘limited’ encounter power, while giving the same power a more increased effect for a major encounter power is something a little more structured.
Having augmented powers part of the psionic power source should not limit fledgling homebrew designers. Folks should freely use this to create their own variations of arcane, divine, martial, etc. classes. Using this system can make for a more manageable way to create balanced powers. I think it is also a way to stretch a few ideas a little further, rather than having to make up a slew of unique powers for a class.
I’m curious how WotC will expand this idea to other systems. Will we see this type of power usage in the new release of Gamma World? I guess time will tell. Hopefully we’ll see some interesting stuff from the community crop up in the next few months fiddling with this way of using, and creating, powers and abilities.