Parallels and Google buddy up to offer Windows on business Chromebooks
Google has partnered with Parallels to bring Windows to enterprise Chromebooks, meaning business users can now run full-featured Windows apps – including Microsoft Office – and Chrome apps simultaneously.
The Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise software comes with an annual subscription fee of US$69.99 per user, is available now only to businesses and will only work on higher-end Chromebooks like Google's Pixelbook and Acer's Spin 713.
So if you bought a cheap Chromebook with a few gigabytes of storage and memory, you're out of luck. To run the software, you'll need a Chromebook with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and at least 128 GB of SSD storage.
After deployment of the software, Windows can be loaded into the Parallels virtual desktop, allowing users to run any "business-approved" Windows applications on the high performance Chromebook, and they will be able to do so even if there's no internet connection available. Windows apps and Chrome OS apps can also run at the same time, without needing to reboot or use emulators.
The system clipboard, user profile and custom folders are shared across both operating environments, as are printers – though it is also possible to use printers that are only available to Windows users (but a driver may need to be installed).
The Chromebook touchpad and keyboard will work with Windows apps, with the mouse cursor changing its look to reflect which operating system you're working in. There's an "open with" feature that allows users to assign a Windows application as the default to open files, and Windows sounds can be played via the Chromebook at launch, with microphone, camera and USB device support on its way in the future.
A company's IT admins will be able to activate Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise and deploy Windows for selected users using the Google Admin console, and the business will be able use its existing Windows licenses.
"Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise incorporates more than 22 years of Parallels’ experience innovating software that makes it simple for people to seamlessly run multiple operating systems and applications on any device, to be more productive," said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support for Parallels.
"In addition to simultaneously running Windows and its full-featured apps alongside Chrome OS apps directly on a Chromebook, Parallels Desktop integrates a variety of useful features: Copy and paste text and graphics between Windows 10 and Chrome OS; frustration-free printing from Windows apps via shared Chrome OS printers or from printers that are only available for Windows 10; and the option to save Windows files locally on a Chromebook, in the cloud, or both.”