For a long time, I have track a little nifty language called REBOL ( http://www.rebol.com ).
REBOL is not backed by the giants, rather it is developed and conceived by Carl Sassenrath, the system architect responsible for the world's first multitasking multimedia operating system, the Commodore Amiga OS.
What appeals me is the ease and elegance that REBOL allows one to developed applications that is small and yet portable. An application or reblet (as the community called it) can be deployed on over 40 platforms. REBOL bring with it the ability to overcome the short fall of web based (HTML) applications and is in fact a step closer than Java to WORA (write once run anywhere).
Unfortunately (or fortunately), REBOL is not free. It is proprietary and it has a small developer base.