The next release of upstream qemu is scheduled for December 1, 2011 and will be tagged as version 1.0. Some release candidates have already been published so you can start playing with them if you're interested. Below is a list of the main targeted features with a short description of each.
The new memory api will be based on new memory modelling which more closely reflects they way memory is implemented in real computer systems. This feature is targeted at developers more than users so this will be transparent if you're an end user. The new memory api is currently implemented on top of the old api which limits the capabilities of the new api but this is a first step until users of the old api has been migrated. There's still a long list of things todo before the new api is fully implemented.
Emulation is being added for the Tensilica Xtensa processor family. Tensilica develops processor technology primary for use in embedded systems. Currently development allows you to run linux on sim and lx60 boards. You can find more information on this project at the qemu support for Xtensa wiki page.
Due to some shortcomings with the current virtio-block implementation, the KVM development community has decided to implement a virtio-scsi storage stack. One of the major shortcomings of the virtio-blk design is it's limited feature set. Further to this, adding new features, even trivial ones, requires a change to the spec for virtio-block. Additionally, the virtio-block implementation has a limitation of one pci device per disk which is not very scalable.
The new virtio-scsi storage stack will keep the efficient design and performance of virtio-blk while providing a richer feature set. The feature set will depend on the target and not on virtio-scsi itself and there will be multiple target choices eg. qemu and lio. Scalability will be in the order of thousands of disks per pci device and devices will be true scsi devices providing good physical to virtual and virtual to virtual migration.
Version 1.0 of qemu will see improvements in the SCSI subsystem as a pre-requisite for the development of virtio-scsi. The list of improvements include the following
These improvements have already been done to the SCSI subsystem and will be available in the upcoming qemu 1.0.
TCI is a new highly experimental feature that will improve the TCG code generator by running tcg generated code on any 32 or 64 bit host. Previous to TCI, the code generator, known as TCG, only allowed qemu to run on the most important host architectures such as x86, arm, mips, s390 and sparc. TCI will not create native code but rather bytecode which is interpreted so it will not depend on the host running qemu. The idea is that by adding a code generator for some virtual machine and using an interpreter for the generated bytecode, you can support almost any host. The only difference to running qemu with or without TCI will be speed.
The current version available for download is release candidate 1.