There was (and still is) some uncertainty about Silverlight future, especially with HTML 5 around and how Microsoft wants to position it…There were talks about its future mainly as a development platform for Windows phone 7 devices, etc. All these talks however didn’t stop the developers of cooking yet another Silverlight version, number 5. The new version improves media playback support promising 1080p video streaming from a netbook with a minimal impact over its battery life. This is done by relying strongly on GPU hardware acceleration.
Many other features added to Silverlight 5 were chosen based on developer popularity vote and Microsoft claims about 70 percent of the suggestions were incorporated into Silverlight 5. Among these we can find Trickplay enabling variable speed media playback, a new DRM (DECE), improved power management, multiple desktop windows, low latency networking (games?), OpenType fonts for printing, multi-column text flow (any newspaper reading app in mind?), etc.
There are still a lot of goodies to be announced so check Microsoft Silverlight fire-starter event for more info including videos ,tips on creating web apps using WCF, REST and LINQ, RIA services, data binding in Silverlight and Windows Phone, etc.
Silverlight 5 will be available in beta version sometime in the first half of 2011 with the final version scheduled for the end of the same year.