Although Chromebooks meet the needs of most average users, they still aren’t for everyone. There are plenty of web apps, progressive web apps, Android apps, and even Linux apps to choose from, but there are still some apps missing on Chrome OS that a consumer or business user will miss. Microsoft Windows is still the most widely used operating system for PCs, so it’s important that Chrome OS offers similar, if not identical, apps. Google partners with Parallels to make this happen.
If you’re not familiar with Parallels, it’s a company that specializes in developing virtualization software that lets people run full installations of Windows on Mac PCs with Intel processors. Parallels Desktop is a popular choice among power Mac users who need the added flexibility of using Windows apps, and now the company behind this technology is extending to Chrome OS as well. Parallels and Google have announced joint plans to bring full support for Microsoft Windows apps to Chromebooks this fall.
Before you get too excited, it’s worth noting that there’s one big catch with this announcement. Parallels for Chrome OS will only be available to Enterprise users, meaning Chromebooks managed and distributed by large companies. That’s a disappointment for consumers hoping to run Photoshop or Microsoft Office on their Chromebook. Either way, it’s a big deal for the Chrome OS platform, as this breakthrough will hopefully open the door to technology that will be made available to consumers in the future.
Neither company has shared many details about how it will work or what the implementation will look like. The partnership will bring support for legacy apps (including Microsoft Office desktop apps) to Chromebooks, and Parallels says the integration will be “seamless.” google said AndroidPolice that the feature will be based on Parallels Desktop and integrated natively into Chrome OS with full offline support. This means the Parallels integration won’t just be a Windows virtual machine running on the cloud with the Chromebook acting as a remote desktop client. In contrast, the previous (abandoned) attempt to bring Windows support to Chrome OS involved Windows running on a separate partition like Boot Camp on macOS.
This is an exciting development for Chrome OS, despite its somewhat limited scope. It is always possible that Parallels will also be available for consumers. Google says more information will be shared in the coming months.
Source 1: Parallels | Source 2: Google