Microsoft announced the availability of Silverlight 4 in beta at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) today.
Some of the new features include more fluid animations, Webcam, microphone and printing support, 200 percent faster start times than Silverlight 3, deep zoom and multi-touch support and more.
One of the big capabilities of Silverlight 4 is its ability to take rich-media experiences outside the browser in client apps which will compete with Adobe AIR.
Using Facebook's APIs, Microsoft created a demo app which was completely reskinned, complete with news feed, contacts, and photos.
Cycling through photos in the Silverlight Facebook app, for instance, was much faster than doing it in the browser.