I love Chrome OS, but if I had to point out the biggest issue with the platform as a whole, it’s a lack of truly powerful apps. You won’t get Photoshop or the full Microsoft Office suite on a Chromebook, but Google is teaming up with Parallels to bring support for Windows apps to Chrome OS. But there’s a catch.
As of right now, this feature is only coming to enterprise users—those who are part of large corporations and get Chromebooks as part of the job. My hope is that this proves to be a fruitful partnership and a successful launch, so perhaps Google will consider bringing Windows support to the general public as well. Only time will tell.
It was originally assumed (please don’t assume things) that this would be cloud virtualization, with Windows apps effectively running on a cloud server. But Google confirmed to Android Police that this will indeed use local virtualization, with everything happening directly on the machine. That means full offline support and performance that won’t be dictated by the internet speed at the time. Nice.
That’s the extent of it, though. There are still many questions about how this will work and on what devices—there’s a chance it may only support Intel machines, but that’s just speculation. That thing I said about assuming in the last paragraph? It applies here too.
Either way, this is an exciting partnership and could potentially mean big things for the future of Chrome OS. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.