Netbooks, once the cheap portables spotted at coffee shops everywhere, have become so uncool that they are near extinction. Case in point: Dell is saying sayonara to its consumer netbook business.

Dell will stop producing its Inspiron Mini line of netbooks and has no plans to release any devices in the mini notebook category, the company told The Verge.

The company is now focusing its attention on pricier Ultrabooks, the red hot new category of devices inspired by Apple’s popular MacBook Air. “Thin and powerful is where it is at for us,” Dell’s marketing director Alison Gardner told The Verge.

Scrapping the netbook business is the wise thing to do. Research shows that tablet sales are booming while netbook sales are tanking. And, in Western Europe, Gartner calculated a more than 40 percent decrease in netbook shipments in the third quarter of 2011.

Still, it’s a bittersweet sign that an era — albeit a short one, as netbooks only date back to late 2007 — has come to end. Viva la ultrabook.

[Red sunset image via Shutterstock]

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