If you felt the computer market was already crowded with those tiny Eee PC 'tribute machines' that are popping up like Daffodils in April, then take a look at the latest predictions for growth in the sector.

According to analysts at Gartner, the so-called netbook market will grow from 5.2 million units this year to 50 million in 2012.

Implications ahead

The company's report is full of obvious statements – apparently, netbook users are either first-timers or experienced users after a second or third computer – but it does have some serious news for PC builders.

It suggests that after 2010 computer makers will need to be careful about the dividing line between their smallest machines and the more expensive regular laptops.

Head for business

If the growth in netbook processing power continues, it claims, business users could start buying those to replace the low-end, but full-size, portables that are currently commonplace in business.