Mark Reinhold, the Chief Architect for the Java platform, recently laid out details for two alternatives for the next Java release. Plans have obviously been changed somewhat due to Oracle buying out Sun, and as a result there will not be a Java 7 release this year.
Here’s the options:
Plan A: JDK 7 (as currently defined) Mid 2012 Plan B: JDK 7 (minus Lambda, Jigsaw, and part of Coin) Mid 2011 JDK 8 (Lambda, Jigsaw, the rest of Coin, ++) Late 2012
Reinhold confirmed in his blog recently that the next release will be according to Plan B.