Jonathan Schwartz's app store dream

Sun's head honcho aims to leverage Java's installed base to create the world's largest app store

In a recent blog post, Sun's Jonathan Schwartz discussed Project Vector, an idea for turning the Java update mechanism into an applications delivery mechanism. Remember when Sun bundled Google toolbar with Java updates? Replace "Google toolbar" with "legions of Java applications" and you get the idea.

"Vector is a network service to connect companies of all sizes and types to the roughly one billion Java users all over the world," Schwartz says in his blog. While he acknowledges that Sun is not a consumer company, Schwartz believes that having the ear of developers as well as massive installed base puts the company in a unique position to be able to put developers' work in the hands of end-users. Vector, he says, should appeal to "any Java developer looking to escape the browser to reach a billion or so consumers."

[ Related: Sun seeks to build the world's largest app store around Java. ]

The delivery mechanism is currently described only in broad terms: "Candidate applications will be submitted via a simple web site, evaluated by Sun for safety and content, then presented under free or fee terms to the broad Java audience via our update mechanism."

However, Schwartz is being coy about how, exactly, those apps will be presented (will you get a sales pitch every time you perform a Java update, or will you have to make a conscious decision to visit the store?), how he intends to bring users to Project Vector the way Apple has with its App Store, and about what types of apps he hopes to distribute. More details are set to be revealed xxx.

Meanwhile, we're left to wonder exactly which Java apps we'd want to download and use and why. Or is this just a lame ploy to stave off some of the Java staff reductions Oracle surely has in store?

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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