Intel Sees Netbooks Sales Doubling in 2009

atom_621Intel’s (s intc) smallest chip, the Atom, sits inside many netbooks. So when the chip giant reported first-quarter earnings Tuesday afternoon, it also offered some insight into the health of the netbook market. Intel executives said on a call with analysts that demand for netbooks was strong in the first three months of this year — but only strong enough to help reduce an inventory overhang that had built up in late 2008. Still, the company expects sales of netbooks to double in 2009, with Intel CEO Paul Otellini saying, “This is still one of the hot categories out there and one of the great technology stories.” As for ultra-thin, ultra-light notebooks higher up in the market, he said prices could decline this year to the point that they’re not longer just “executive jewelry.”