Skype announced today that it will release a software upgrade in November that will allow users to chat using high quality video with a few select webcams. Skype 3.6 for Windows will bump up the resolution of the video image to 640 x 480 (as opposed to 320x240) at up to 30 fps.
There are some caveats, though. You will need one of Logitechs cameras certified for high quality video: the $99 Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 / QuickCam Pro for Notebooks, or the $129 QuickCam Orbit AF. You'll also need a 2.0GHz dual-core processor for your computer, a gigabyte of RAM and a minimum of 384Kbps upstream and downstream Internet bandwidth.
According to Skype and Logitech, this quality of video was previously only available in the board rooms of big businesses. The companies hope their relatively low-cost alternative will bring high quality video conferencing to the mainstream and make video calling much more popular.