The execution of Windows apps on Chrome OS is up and running thanks to a Google partnership with Parallels. This will turn devices like Chromebooks into tremendously versatile machines, capable of running Chrome OS, Android, Linux and Windows applications.

Parallels is well known for its virtualization software that has allowed owners of Mac computers to run Windows on macOS for years. in fact, it was the first virtualization software to hit the market to support the Apple-Intel architecture when those in Cupertino abandoned PowerPC.

Parallels offers hardware virtualization software powered by hypervisor technology that provides the necessary division between the virtual machine operating system and the host machine hardware. Or more clearly, it allocates hardware resources from the host computer to the guest virtual machine. Unlike software like Wine on Linux, this ensures better compatibility with applications, even at the cost of higher performance.

Windows apps on Chrome OS

We assume that the technology used for Chrome OS will be the same as that used in macOS. Unfortunately, the announcement only mentions business Chromebooks and not consumer devices outside of a managed environment, though there should be no technical problem with that.

Parallels promises to run Windows applications “Full-featured” in Chrome OS Enterprise, including Microsoft Office. From a business point of view, this could go a long way in providing the support that large and legacy Windows applications need. Google’s idea is that companies don’t have to buy expensive Windows machines and just rely on generally cheaper Chromebooks.

An operating system to govern them all and with a strong focus on telework insisted by all the great technologies after the COVID pandemic: «Remote work is a new reality, making efficiency, connectivity, speed, reliability, security and uninterrupted access essential elements of a successful organization . At this key moment, our two organizations have formed a landmark partnership to equip companies with solutions that optimize their businesses and teams to meet the changing challenges of modern work environments. ”

Parallels will offer the possibility of access to remote applications, running Windows applications on a remote computer that Chromebooks will be able to access through the Web. Being a cloud-centric platform, it seems like a suitable model for Chrome OS, but latency could be deadly. Therefore, it has also confirmed the running applications locally, by running your virtual machine directly on the device.

Definitely, Chrome OS will be the total operating system, capable of running all kinds of applications. If you want to test Google’s operating system without having to buy a Chromebook, you can review this guide: How to run Chrome OS from a USB without touching your main system.

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