The most popular notebook computer manufacturers are losing ground to smaller, newer companies, research from DisplaySearch reveals.

HP led the market during the third quarter of 2006, with 17.7% of the worldwide market, but unexpectedly, Acer was the top seller in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with a 4% greater market share than HP.

Acer's growth also topped HP's for the third quarter, coming in at 39%, while HP came in close behind at 36%.

Dell, however, beat Acer in terms of worldwide popularity, coming in only just behind HP at 17.5% of the market.

The market overall grew by 29% year on year, and Acer beat this with a resounding 49% growth since the same time last year. So did Apple, with 63% growth, Asus, at 68%, at Sony, at 47%.

Also in the top five for worldwide notebook PC market share during the third quarter were Toshiba, with 10.7% of the market, and Lenovo, the Chinese computer manufacturer, at 8.2%.