Webtalkguys have published a list of the 10 top internet tendencies for this year
). Although I mostly agree with them, their first point is
1. The decline of the web browser usage on the desktop as a way to get to web content
I don't think we'll see such decline. Even as content in many possible shapes is already out there, the browser is still an entry point for any kind of content. Even if you listen to internet radio using XMMS
, you still need the Shoutcast
website seen from a browser (which might be integrated in other kind of player) to locate the music you want to listen to. You will still open the browser, or a deskbar, which is a specialized kind of browser, to find your way in the Internet maze.
Besides, it makes sense. If every application needs its special player/browser/whatever, you'll have to download tons of stuff before you can even start to surf decently. On the other hand, the browser is architected as an universal app client, which, through a plugin mechanism, can run anything or play anything.
I rather think that most things will be merged back into the browser using the current kind of plugin mechanism, or its substitute.