Google just wrapped up its Chrome OS Demo Day at which the Product Head John Maletis took to the digital stage to highlight some exciting new features headed to the enterprise sector. While this may not be of interest to the average consumer, the new tools offered by the Chrome OS team are paramount to business looking to make the move to a Chromebook workforce. The entire event only took 45 minutes and it’s worth a look if you’d like to learn more about the future of Chrome OS in enterprises and how companies can and are already moving away from legacy systems that run Windows applications. You can see the full video recap here if you like.
My two takeaways from the Demo Day are the Chrome OS Readiness Tool and using Zero-Touch Enrollment with Parallels and Chrome OS. We’ll go in-depth on the Chrome OS Readiness Tool a little later but that short story is that companies can install the tool on their non-Chrome OS laptops for thirty days and get a snapshot of what, if anything, they need to in order to fully transition to a Chromebook fleet.
Today, we’re going to take our first look at installing Parallels and the Windows desktop environment on Chrome OS. Bringing Windows applications to Chrome OS is a massive achievement for Google and it will greatly assist companies that want to move to Chromebooks but still rely on mission-critical legacy applications. Parallels has been delivering this virtualization method to macOS for years and now we can access the same useful software on Chrome OS with official support from Google and Parallels. Parallels from Chrome OS is designed to be installed by the company’s IT admins via the Google Admin Console. Once provisioned and assigned, employees can be given a new Chromebook and all the tools they need are already right there when they log in with their company credentials. This is referred to as “zero-touch enrollment.” This means that the end-user isn’t stuck doing extra legwork to install or access crucial applications. Here’s a quick look at how the zero-touch enrollment and Parallels setup process flows.
First Look: Parallels on Chrome OS
We’ll return with a full review of how Parallels runs on Chrome OS but as you can see, the full Windows experience is right there working hand-in-hand with Chrome OS. This setup does require a fairly beefy device. Parallels recommends no less than a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, and believe me, you will need it. The overall experience is definitely viable and I can see how this will be extremely beneficial to companies looking to make the move to Chrome OS. The most impressive part, in my opinion, is the zero-touch enrollment. Between setting up Chrome OS and adding the Parallels license, these devices can be handed to an employee and never pass through the hands of the IT department. The user logs in everything is just there. Stay tuned for our full review of the Parallels desktop as well as a deeper dive into setting this up in the Google Admin Console.
If you are interesting in giving Parallels for Chrome OS a try, you can sign up for a free trial from HP. You will need an Enterprise GSuite account and a Chrome Enterprise Upgrade for your device. Google will give you a free trial for the latter via your Admin Console. Sign up for Parallels below.