The following were a few of the many announcements yesterday at TechEd 07:

1) Orcas is now Visual Studio 2008 - so you may now also need to use the Visual Studio 2008 keywords to search for information on Orcas.

Beta 2 will be released this summer and based on the feedback the RTM dates will be decided.

Orcas Beta 2 is expected this summer and would also include the "Visual Studio Shell" (more on this in a separate post, once i get my hands dirty). In short the Shell will enable developers to create their own custom tools built on top of the Visual Studio IDE. It is ideal for ISV parters and enterprise customers who want to leverage the power of Visual Studio as a platform to (help their customer's) build their own applications. The VS Shell is an offering in lieu of the earlier Visual Studio Premier Partner Edition. The Visual Studio Shell (also known as the VS PPE Shell) will be available free of charge and will feature new capabilities that allow ISVs to custom-brand their applications and run them independently of other Visual Studio installations, as well as better documentation and technical resources.

There are no bits available right now but bits will be available to VSIP partners along with Orcas Beta 2. At Orcas launch the Visual Studio Shell will be available to everyone free of charge. Read more about the Shell here

2) Katmai is now SQL Server 2008 - First public CTP is available. You can get it from here.