Netbook sales to double in 2009

Weirdly, manufacturers will still sell just as many laptops

Bright sales forecast for netbooks like the Acer Aspire One 751

The world is going netbook crazy, according to new research from US analysts DisplaySearch.

It predicts that global sales of netbooks will reach nearly 33 million units during 2009 - twice the 2008 total.

Europe will see slightly slower growth - from 7.3 million to 13.3 million cut-down computers.

People still buying laptops

However, traditional laptop makers (yes, that means you, Apple) shouldn't be too down-heartened. DisplaySearch estimates that worldwide sales of laptops this year will be almost identical to last year - and will still account for three quarters of all portable computers.

Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa have the largest appetite for netbooks - up to 30 per cent of all mobile computers - while America and Asia remain to be convinced. In 2008, 45 per cent of all netbooks were shipped into European and African markets.

DisplaySearch thinks there's a pent-up demand for business laptops that might mean a rebound in traditional laptop sales once Windows 7 launches, and also predicts more netbooks with larger (11.6- and 12-inch) displays.

In related screen news, DisplaySearch also forecasts the total OLED display market to grow nearly ten-fold in the next eight years, to £4.4 billion by 2016.