This makes some sense as the future computing more dependent on web. More and more applications and technologies will be available as hosted apps rather than standalone ones. That is good for customers and enterprises as they can access this massive technology and infrastructure as on demand and with very less price. All these technologies and infrastructures are sold at monthly price based on the bandwidth, storage and computing power required for the client application and for that time more like a utility bills. It’s like classic model of what you pay is what you get.
While these all make sense, in the other hand the desktops are no behind in providing the rich computing power and storage. Now most of the desktops are coming with multi core processors and providing huge computing power. There are large number of applications need lot of memory and computer power. The scientific application most suited apps in this category. These technologies are very difficult to port on web as they will talk directly to the hardware of the host system. For example the graphics libs will directly access underlined hardware.
The technology like alchemy from Adobe and Native Client from Google will be the perfect fit for these kind of applications. These technologies allow the native application to run in browsers with rich client interface.
The alchemy from Adobe is experimental technology allows the native apps built using C and C++ to run in a Action Script Virtual Machine ( AVM2 ). Alchemy brings the power of high performance C and C++ libraries to web.
The Native Client from Google is also similar such project to run the native rich apps in web browser.
I think applications modeled on N-Tier with a thin client will find more place towards cloud computing model where as the applications directly talking to hardware will be find their place running under web apps still accessing the local host. However the browser is the medium of tomorrow.