32-bit and 64-bit Silverlight 5 Coming

The advent of the next major iteration of Silverlight will be synonymous with the launch of a full 64-bit version of the technology’s runtime, in addition to the 32-bit release, according to Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, .NET Developer Platform.

Guthrie announced on December 2nd that Microsoft is hard at work building the next generation of its Flash alternative, and that just like Adobe it is focusing on ensuring the 64-bit flavor browsers will be able to run Silverlight.

It was with the launch of the “Square” preview of Flash Player in mid-September 2010, released in tandem with Internet Explorer 9 Beta, that Adobe unveiled the introduction of native x64 support for the plug-in.

It appears that Microsoft is doing the same with Silverlight, expanding the technology’s reach.

“We're (…) for the first time introducing a full 64-bit version of the Silverlight runtime, which means that you can now use it both in 32-bit browsers, as well as when people switch into 64-bit mode on their browser devices,” Guthrie explained during the “The Future of Silverlight” event in Redmond which brought the first details on Silverlight 5.

The promise from Microsoft is that it’s hard at work on the successor of Silverlight 4 which it wants to ship next year.

Focused on helping customers boost media experiences and business applications in the Cloud, Silverlight 5 will sport more than 40 new features compared to its predecessor.

“We're working hard, as you can see, at finishing up the Silverlight 5 feature set, and we plan to ship the first public beta of Silverlight 5 in the first half of next year,” Guthrie added.

“We're then going to go ahead and ship final release of Silverlight 5 by the end of next year, and it will have the great capabilities (…) we think hopefully really enable you to build kind of the next generation of great experiences, and really wow your customers.”

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