Last piece of news for tonight, this time from the Release Team:
“We are pleased to announce the release of Pre-RC1 build 5536.16385! This build represents significant progress incorporating your Beta 2 and 5472 feedback.
We have made a lot of progress since Beta 2 and 5472, and we think you will notice the quality improvements that we’ve been seeing in the daily builds.”
This beta build is for selected testers only and is a predecessor to the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) build still expected in early September.
Initial blogger reactions (, , ) seem to be very favorable particularly with regard to improved performance. Mary Jo Foley has more reactions at Microsoft Watch and if you are interested, Paul Thurrott deciphers build numbering.
Update 8/28: Paul Thurrott weighed in over the weekend with a very favorable review as well. Mary Jo Foley clarifies the availability of build 5536 – it turns out that MSDN subscribers and some members of the Customer Preview Program who received Beta 2 will also get this build.