We knew it wouldn’t be long before VMware’s Fusion 5 had a competitor. Today Parallels has announced the release of Parallels 8 for Mac, the latest edition of its flagship virtualization software, which includes support for Windows 8, and boasts Retina-ready visuals for the new MacBook Pro. Other improvements include support for Mountain Lion Dictation, Bluetooth sharing, and Launchpad integration.
Just some of the new and improved features in Parallels 8 include:
- Speak, don’t type – Use the new Mountain Lion Dictation tool across both Windows and Mac environments
- Open in Internet Explorer – When a website doesn’t render well within Safari, launch it in Internet Explorer with a click of a button
- Drag and drop email attachments – Simply drag and drop files from the desktop onto the Dock icons for Outlook and other Windows email clients to attach and share them
- Multilingual keyboard – Keyboard language changes made on the Mac automatically sync, to simplify switching languages in Windows
- Parallels Wizard – Download and automatically install Windows or other operating systems (OSes) including Google Chrome OS, Ubuntu and Android on your Mac. Parallels Desktop customers have downloaded more than 500,000 copies of Windows using the Parallels Wizard to-date, and many additional customers have moved their Windows PCs to their Mac or added Windows and other OSes
- Bluetooth-sharing – Multiple Windows and Mac devices can now share Bluetooth connections
- Windows apps on OS X Launchpad – Add Windows applications to the Mountain Lion or Lion Launchpad to quickly launch Mac and Windows applications used most
- Consolidated notifications – Integration of Windows notifications into the Mac OS X Notification Center makes it easy to stay updated on Windows virtual machine operations
- Resource monitoring – Disk space and memory usage of virtual machines are conveniently displayed for easy customization and management
- Mountain Lion gestures for Windows apps – Enjoy seamless integration of Mountain Lion gestures with Windows apps such as pinch to zoom, Mission Control, three-finger drag, swipe between full-screen apps, two-finger scroll, Launchpad and rotate
That’s on top of its Retina display support, which allows you to enjoy high-resolution visuals in Mac and Windows environments, with crisper fonts, and “more vivid” photos, images, and animations.
In addition to all this, Parallels 8 promises to be up to 30% faster than its predecessor, Parallels 7. It’s 30% faster for input/output (I/O) operations, 30% faster for gaming, and 25% faster for virtual machine operations, including boot, suspend, shutdown, and resume.
Parallels 8 will be available from August 30 for existing Parallels customers looking to upgrade. New customers can pick up the software on September 4, both as a digital download through Parallel’s website, and as a packaged disc from Apple retail stores, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and more.
Pricing starts at $49.99 for upgrades and those switching from VMware Fusion, $79.99 for the standard retail edition, $39.99 for the student edition, and $99.99 for the “Switch to Mac” edition.