Though it seems like we haven't heard from it since the era of yellow, text-only displays, the company announced a new laptop with a built-in Skype button yesterday. The button, located next to the Webcam above the machine's 14-inch wide-screen display, can either open Skype or answer an incoming call. The notebook's Webcam should also be useful with the video calling features available in the latest version of Skype.
We've seen a of USB devices designed to make Skype work with your laptop or desktop, and we're seeing more and more manufacturers including Webcams on their laptops. But this is the first time Skype specifically has been baked into a notebook--and it's probably not the last time. With the prospect of municipal Wi-Fi, more laptops with built-in WWAN, and increasing fuel and travel costs, pushing nontext communication though the laptop is an increasingly attractive option for business users in particular. IP-based video- and teleconferencing is not only cheaper than a cross-country flight, it's also far more convenient than squeezing into coach.