This release introduces Ubuntu Core images, which is a minimal software stack and can be used as the basis for customized Ubuntu-based distributions and other products. The DVD images have also shrunk to 1.5GB in size. Lubuntu is also becoming an official member of the Ubuntu family with the 11.10 release.
Complete details can be found via this mailing list announcement, but by now most Phoronix readers are likely already familiar with Ubuntu 11.10 and what it brings to the table.
Later in the month there will be a second beta release followed by a release candidate in early October and then going gold on the 13th of October.