Scott Guthrie just posted a first look at Silverlight 2 on his blog and confirmed some of the things we've been expecting, first and foremost that Silverlight 2 beta 1 will be released shortly (possibly even before MIX next month?). He also runs down some of the features that we can expect for the beta 1 including WPF UI Framework, Rich Controls, Rich Networking Support and a Rich Base Class Library.
This is going to be a big deal for RIAs. Silverlight 1.0 primarily focused on video and Silverlight 2 looks like it's going to help bridge the gap some between WPF and Silverlight. That's generally a good thing in terms of people building applications as well as making the tooling work well between the two platforms. It will be interesting to see how much of the WPF UI framework will make it into Silverlight and how those two technologies converge over time. Will we be looking at WPF as a roadmap for Silverlight?
With the Rich Controls and Networking Support we should start to see some real applications built with Silverlight. This also means that some of Microsoft's core properties could see Silverlight versions rolled out. There were some creative things done with Silverlight 1.0 but the inclusion of controls means less rolling your own components and more time spent actually fleshing out an application. It's going to be a big year for RIAs.