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Netbooks, the smaller versions of traditional laptop PCs, suffered a final blow this week. The two remaining manufacturers of the niche product, Acer and Asus, have decided to end production of the once-popular mini computers. 

According to Asian IT publication Digitime, Taiwan-based ASUSTek Computer Inc. announced last month they would be ending its popular Eee PC line. Acer Inc., another Taiwan company, followed with news they would no longer produce netbooks in the coming year. The emergence of tablet PCs, such as the popular iPad and hybrid devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note II, has effectively ended the public’s interest in netbooks.

Netbooks were hot items just five years ago, serving as a low-cost alternative to larger and more powerful notebook computers. With some tablets having stronger processors and superior functionality, it became clear to some large manufacturers that netbooks were no longer a hot item. Samsung, once a major netbook player, has long since shuttered its production of the product. The advent of “ultrabooks,” like Apple’s MacBook Air, also came with more power with just a touch more bulk than a regular netbook.

TIME magazine tech writer Harry McCracken valiantly champions netbooks, saying in a recent article that “netbooks will be back” after the industry makes a culture adjustment.

Tell us what you prefer; whether it’s a netbook, iPad, Kindle or whatever, in the comments.

Photo: Asus