Google is doing with Android what Sun wanted to do with JavaFX but failed
Google announced their android based TV thingy today. As someone who doesn't own a TV nor watch that accursed thing, I may be the last person qualified to comment on this. tV is a vast wasteland that wastes many peoples lives. But I watched part of the announcement anyway and had echos of work we did in the JavaFX team, where I used to work. Google is clearly barking up the same tree as have many others about creating convergence as the devices become more powerful and enable new features. It's a shame that it's not JavaFX because it has interesting features. But maybe this is why Sun failed as a company, because it couldn't figure out how to be successful.
The idea is a large screen display device that can play video from cable tv and integrate web based content. Big whoop but it'll probably sell well. It's cool that android will be available in large screen format and providing applications for large screens may be great. But I'm not real impressible with things that are TV ... But that's just me
At Sun the mantra for JavaFX was "all the screens of your life" which we defined as "desktop", "mobile" and "tv". Google with Android has implemented mobile and now tv and I believe there are Android devices that don't fit either of those. It's curious they show no sign of implementing a desktop version of Android. Googles audience largely doesn't include desktop apps and they rely instead on the web to provide apps for desktop users. Hence they're likely to never see desktop users as the audience unlike Sun who created the APPLET idea in the first place.
I think one way Sun went wrong was with some of the features we worked on implementing. A use case the marketing team claimed was critical was to switch video streaming from device to device.. Say you're watching a video on your cell phone, get home, walk into the room with the huge plasma screen, so shouldn't the video automatically beginnplaying on the big screen? I suppose in some marketer wet dream fantasy land that's a critical feature. The fact is it would be hard to implement and they made the JavaFX team work on implementing it. That was effort which couldn't be spent to create and polish the core platform but instead was going into creating fantasy features.
The point I'm making is e team didn't start by making a solid and usable foundation platform but instead focused on creating a be-all-do-everything platform for fantasy use cases.
Further the management didn't have a clue what it was going to require to build a Flash-killer yet their hubris said they could indeed kill Flash.
The result was to devote a massive resources chasing this fantasy, deprive the core Java platform of engineering, delay Java release schedule by a few years, undermine the prior strategy of open source. Wasted resources, huge cost, doing consumer centric stuff way outside Sun's competency, etc. Doomed to failure. Obviously I'm still pissed at them for killing Java.