After a spurt of premature announcements from dpReview (not their fault) and Adobe's own TV, there is indeed a Lightroom 3 Beta 2. See Tom Hogarty for the official announcement.

The product's appeal has been broadened by including support for tethering and for the management of video files. But for me the beef of this release is image quality, where the new demosaicing and luminance noise reduction really come together. In some ways that's a difficult strategy. After all, some demand shiny bells and whistles for their upgrade cash, don't they? Significantly better image quality is much less quantifiable, a percentage improvement, and a lot less tangible. Yet it should hold huge enormous appeal for photographers….

So I'd particularly urge you to take some high ISO images through the now-enabled luminance noise reduction. I've put some ISO 12500 images through it (a friend's Nikon D3s) and the days of needing the excellent NoiseWare must be numbered. Hogarty says:

Lightroom 3 beta 2 introduces a much more complete solution that includes an outstanding luminance noise reduction control and we're excited to hear your thoughts on the improvements. Open the metadata filter in the Library module to filter down to your high ISO shots and let us know if the combination of Luminance and Color noise reduction provide you with the quality you want. In general the new processing technology should really bring out the best in your raw files. The details and textures will be crisper and somewhat more naturally rendered. We are now applying minimal noise suppression in the new demosaic method compared to earlier versions like Lightroom 2.6.

The new luminance noise sliders are disabled if you are using Process Version 2003, the old Adobe Camera Raw treatment. To use them, you need to switch to Process Version 2010 - click the warning triangle. In my view, the improvement is so dependable that I am simply updating all photographs in my test catalogue. In fact, it's so dependable that I'm not really convinced users needed the option to retain the old settings - if that's a need, they could just keep LR2 installed and go back to their LR2 catalogue. But that's a small quibble.