Last year's October I was looking at AIR and Java weight - I just checked deployment issues - the size of the download needed to get the platform. The other one is resource consumption and I think both AIR and Java have kind of the same, huge memory consumption (thwirl takes about 45 MB), and to both hardware accelerated graphic is comming so CPU will be relieved.
So I just touched the surface of the platform succes factor. I mentioned also if the platform wants to succeed in the consumer world uber cool apps is a must. They have to be slick and sexy. As is Milpa :) which gives it enough credit to make people wait for Java's cold starts. Seriously there are apps worth downloading JRE - Azureus, Limewire, Spark, BlogBridge, Freemind, but none of them can compete with slickness factor of Kuler, Buzzword, ADC Desktop or Nickleodon's Jigsaw Puzzle Game or BlackBookSafe. You might find some nice looking Java app in Bruce Eckels' post's comments (nice thread btw) and in Swing Sightings (which is death btw?). Java seriously needs some marketing love for RIA or FRCA (filthy rich clients apps).
I like the way Adobe markets AIR (apart from cool name ;)) - for developers it is a little shift (from Flash, Flex or html/css/ajax) and for consumers lots of nice looking, polished, useful and net connected apps developed by known companies (AOL Xdrive Desktop Lite, eBay Desktop). Of course being an AIR app doesn't ensure being a great one, but the ones I've seen are all good looking (probably more designers were involved). I wonder what apps will we see when JavaFX emerges from development. Will there be any great companies involved (think eBay, NYT, AOL)? We will know soon.
One company for sure is developing its product using JavaFX - Malden Labs.