updated 09:23 am EDT, Thu August 23, 2012
Fusion 5 available now, Parallels 8 coming September
As might be expected from such close competitors, yesterday saw announcements from both VMWare and Parallels regarding their respective virtualization software products that allow Mac users to run Windows simultaneously on their Macs. VMWare Fusion 5 is a major release with 70 new features that is available now, while Parallels 8 will be coming in early September.
Fusion 5 is updated to take advantage of OS X Mountain Lion technology, allowing users to search for Windows programs in Launchpad, utilize AirPlay mirroring and get alerts through Notification Center. The program also features full support for Windows 8 (all versions), Retina displays, USB 3.0 connectivity, a new learning center and a graphics driver for 3D uses under Linux.
In addition, v5 offers improvements in performance (up to 40 percent faster), better battery life, an updated virtual machine library that makes it easier to switch between multiple operating systems, one-click snapshots and improvements in memory handling for Macs with large amounts of RAM.
The Professional edition of Fusion 5 allows the creation of restricted virtual machines and encrypted corporate VM images, allowing employees to use the images but preventing unauthorized actions such as changing settings or attaching USB devices. The Professional version also includes a perpetual commercial license for virtual machines, avoiding individual machine licensing headaches.
The regular and professional editions are available for $50 and $100, respectively. Customers who have purchased Fusion 4 on or after July 25 of this year can upgrade to the new version for free. Fusion 3 and 4 customers can upgrade to the professional edition for $50.
Parallels has announced that its latest major version, Parallels 8, will be available on September 4. While details regarding what's new are scant, compatibility with Mountain Lion, enhanced support for Windows 8 and USB 3.0 connectivity are likely to be among the changes. The company already integrated experimental support of Windows 8 into the current version back in June.
As with the offer from VMWare, customers who have bought or upgraded to the current version of the program on or after July 25 will receive the new v8 at no additional charge on release.