"Beyond startup time" -- well, startup time is still significant in JRE deployed applications, and Jet starts in the blink of an eye, and then runs at full pelt thereafter. To get the same performance out of current Sun VMs means waiting a minute or so while it boots and warms up, and using the server VM. So there is a concrete advantage to Jet, especially if first impressions count.
Well you can force Hotspot to compile up front, or run a warmup loop, so I dont buy that first impressions of execution speed have to be any different.
Maybe I stated the other badly. Let me try again. IF you need something that will start up almost immediately, then yes pre-compiling is your only option. The price you pay for that is either slower actual execution or bloat.
In some apps this tradeoff is absolutely worth it. You wouldnt want to write many of the little command line Unix utilities in Java without compiling them. Waiting for Java class load time to do an "ls" as an example would be silly.
Mostly it comes down to what % of your run time that startup will be. if its significant then yes you might want to do something about it like pre-compiling.