Interestingly, JavaFX Mobile's interface looks very much like Apple's forthcoming universal machine, the iPhone. Regardless, with more than eight billion GSM subscribers actively accessing network services, Sun and Apple's market focus seems at least warranted, if not advisable.
To the enterprise, these consumer-first marketing ploys may seem immaterial, but they aren't. Traditionally, enterprise-focused vendors such as Sun and IBM may appear to be looking away from business needs. In reality, they're simply shifting their route of ingress from the boardroom to the coffee shop.
If enterprise IT departments learned anything from the instant messaging revolution, it was that consumers drive corporate culture as much, if not more, than even the most forward-looking CXO. What may look like nothing more than a cute mobile phone widget today may morph into an indispensable corporate asset tomorrow, driven not by marketing dollars but by mass collaboration on a global scale -- an unconscious agreement to adopt technologies that facilitate success first personally and then, by extension, professionally.
Consider IBM, which recently announced the inclusion of 4,000 Google Gadgets (themselves another great example of universal-machine-based capabilities) within its enterprise-only portal software, WebSphere Portal. These single-use widgets started solely within the consumer market but will soon find their way into corporate culture, wrapped in a mantle that can be governed, secured, and managed.
The same will undoubtedly hold true for mobile devices, regardless of whether they are running Apple's Mac OS X, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, or Sun's JavaFX Mobile. Popular culture will drive demand for features, the most successful of which will bubble up into corporate culture.
With a universal machine like JavaFX Mobile acting as a leveler between hardware platforms -- a universality that spans the gap between device and PC thanks to lightweight scripting tools like JavaFX Script -- it won't be long before enterprise developers begin exploiting these technologies in the direct pursuit of meatier endeavors.
Alan Turing couldn't have anticipated the manner in which universal machines would arise and expand to serve consumer, science, and commerce. But he would have been impressed by the emergent, driving intelligence and sheer power that emanates from eight billion consumers making simple decisions about which widget to install on their mobile phones.
Brad Shimmin is a principal analyst covering application infrastructure with Current Analysis.