Google and Parallels bring full Windows app support to enterprise Chromebooks
Earlier this year, Google announced a partnership with Parallels that would bring full Windows app support to Chromebooks. Those efforts are now going live today, with enterprise customers able to purchase the solution for $69.99 annually per user.
As we explained earlier this year, Parallels is integrated natively into Chrome OS with full offline support. That means the Parallels integration won’t simply be a Windows virtual machine running off the cloud but will instead launch a full copy of Windows. This will allow Windows apps to sit side-by-side with Chrome OS, Android, and Linux apps.
Users will be able to run multiple Windows apps inside the Parallels Desktop virtualization machine while offline, and there will be a shared clipboard, user profiles, and custom folders. Weblinks clicked in the Windows instance can also be opened in Chrome OS. You won’t, however, be able to pin Windows apps to the Chrome OS shelf, although deeper integration could arrive in a future update.
“Chrome OS is increasingly being chosen by modern enterprises, either for remote work, hybrid, or in the office,” said John Solomon, Vice President of Chrome OS at Google, “We are thrilled to partner with Parallels to bring legacy and full-featured Windows applications support, through Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise, to help businesses easily transition to cloud-first devices and workflows.”
Parallels said that printers will work in Windows, which is good news for enterprise users. However, USB peripherals and webcams aren’t supported just yet. Meanwhile, Parallels for Chromebook Enterprise only supports the most powerful Chromebooks, including those with Intel’s Core i5 or Core I7 processors, 16GB of RAM or more, and a 128GB SSD or more. Your Chromebook will need to be running Chrome OS version 85 or later, and you’ll also need a Windows 10 license, but enterprise customers can use their existing Windows license.
For good measure, there’s a list of “preferred devices,” which covers a lot of more modern Chromebook releases:
- HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise (recommended)
- HP Pro c640 Chromebook Enterprise
- Google Pixelbook
- Google Pixelbook Go
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 13 (CP713-1WN)
- Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook Enterprise
- Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise
- Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook
- ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA
Parallels will integrate with Google Admin Console, so administrators can activate and deactivate Parallels Desktop for selected users, deploy a corporate Windows image, and much more.
If you’re unfamiliar with Parallels, it’s a company that develops virtualization software. In addition to Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise, the company also brings full Windows app support to Apple’s macOS. Today’s release is huge because it opens up a lot of possibilities for Chromebook users — albeit in the enterprise environment.
Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise is available now for $69.99 annually, per user. You can learn more and sign up here.