There are netbook & internet deals here in portugal, but most of them are fixed one year contracts with the mobile operators TMN, Kanguru/Optimus and Vodafone. Pay as you go exists but is no good for Skype owing to limited traffice volumes.
The free volume of traffic/upload/download bandwith available from fixed contract deals with these provides is also limited. So if one uses Skype a lot one soon will be paying a lot over the odds for excess traffic.
Using a UK operators dongle on roaming will cost a fortune is you use skype regularly.
Regular use of Skype, in my opinion, still requires a fixed line adsl or cable broadband connection with a good monthly download data volume. e.g. SAPO 4G/ e 8GB.
As regards no hard drives, only the the very basic models have small flash drives. The more expensive models of netbooks now all have hard drives.
I bought my other half one of the first Asus EEEpc machines sold here in Portugal as she travels a lot. It runs Linux and is fine for email, Skype with webcam and basic office stuff. Skype works well on it but it is only viable when she is in locations with free or low cost wifi.
She is currently on New Zealand on business and has been istaying n business hotels. The wifi rate at these hostelries are ridiculous. So I Skype her from my laptop here over the landline to her hotel room phone in NZ. Not free but still much cheaper. Her netbook stays in her bag. Next week she moves to a hotel with free wifi and we will then use it more.
As regards loading MS Office onboard....YUK!!!!!!!
Linux equipped netbooks already come with OpenOffice loaded. This is an opensource (free) package like MS Office from Sun. It can open, edit and save excel spreadsheets, word documents and powerpoint presentations.
There is a version for Windows, Mac and in various languages here:
These are downloadable of the internet so an external DVD is not necessary.
Worten at present have a basic netbook sans dongle as follows:
Aspire One D150 BlackACERPC Portátil Intel® Atom™ N280 - 1,66GHz / TFT Wide 10,1" / 1024 MB / 160 GB / Windows XP / Intel® 945 GSE / WebCam. Price € 279.
Note this comes with Windows Xp installed and you can be sure with 99%
certainty that it will be XP Portuguese version. If you want it in english you will have to buy a new XP license and cd.
Recently, I have been encouraging expats here to look at Macs or Linux as a solution as you can setup one's preferred language on starting the machine for the first time. I did this with my partner's Asus and recently with an Apple Macbook a client bought at FNAC here.
Finally, note that netbook screens are small. If you are getting one, go for a minimum of 10'1" TFT Screen. The smaller one are a hassle.