As I have mentioned a few times, with code drop 8 we lifted the non-disclosure veil from the Notes/Domino 8.5.1 beta.  Many of the design partners and managed beta participants have taken the time to blog about the overall improvements, the updated Domino Designer in Eclipse, and Lotus Notes Traveler support for the Apple iPhone.  I was particularly intrigued to see Charles Robinson's blog entry summarizing his experience with CD8:

So when I heard that supposedly one of the primary goals in 8.5.1 was to fix was was left undone in 8.5 and to finally make Domino Designer a usable development environment, my first reaction was look back at the long history of broken promises and broken software and be dismissive. I finally decided that after harping about this for the better part of a decade I had to see if they were really doing it or just giving more lip service. I requested to participate in the 8.5.1 managed beta. I had to know.
I'll let you read the specifics of Charles' observations, but if you want to skip to the punch line, here it is:
I have been one of the harshest critics of R8 and I'm not a raving fan yet, but there is finally hope. I wrote off R8 as a lost release, one that was basically an entire beta cycle between 7 and 9. I never expected any R8 release to be usable. If you did the same you owe it to yourself to give 8.5.1 a try. It has issues and there is a lot left to be done, but is head and shoulders above any previous R8 release.
While I can't say that I share the thought that 8 was a Vista-like placeholder between 7 and 9 -- and based on the fact that more than 60% of our customers have Notes/Domino 8 deployed, most of you didn't either -- I have acknowledged here and there that there was still some fit and finish work to do.  The 8.5 FixPack was good and useful but came a month or two later than I had personally hoped.  We know we need to iterate on these faster.  Ultimately, the 8.5.1 release will incorporate that fixpack, plus many, many more bug fixes across the product line.  While fixing bugs might appear to some as just fixing bugs, we actually measure the progression against all customer-reported SPRs, all high-weight SPRs, all regressions, and the entire known universe of issues with the product.  While I can't go into specifics, the metrics I'm seeing on 8.5.1 show overall progress towards zero or virtual zero -- it is the main reason why this "maintenance release" is on a longer ship cycle.  This is why Charles, and many of the other 8.5.1 beta testers, are reporting significant progress in terms of performance, improvements in stability, and overall polish and finish.  We still have a few more weeks before this project is done, and from my executive level, I can tell you that the team is tremendously focused on finishing the job.

Link: Charles Robinson: My impressions of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 beta >

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