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IFA 2012: Parallels announces Desktop 8 version for Mountain Lion & Windows 8

Parallels has announced a revamped version of its product that takes advantage of Apple's new Mountain Lion OS and will come ready to handle Windows 8.

Parallels allows Mac users to run Windows and Mac apps simultaneously without rebooting. With Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac, unveiled this week at IFA, that extends to Mountain Lion and Windows 8.

Existing Parallels desktop users can upgrade to version 8 on 30 August via New customers can get their hands on it starting 4 September.

With Desktop 8, users can opt to run the Windows desktop in full screen or have it run in the background on their Mac. Parallels promised that the updated version will deliver powerful performance for Windows apps - "like they were made for a Mac" - even those that are graphics intensive.

Options include using Mountain Lion's dictation feature within Windows apps or getting Retina display-quality resolution on the "Metro" apps expected in Windows 8.

"People don't need to make an either/or choice between Mac and Windows because Macs running Parallels Desktop 8 empower people to simultaneously use applications that best suit their needs – regardless of whether it's an app for OS X, Windows, Google Chrome OS, Ubuntu, or even Android," said Parallels CEO Birger Steen. "We hear amazing stories from people every day – from students and teachers who need Windows for classes, and developers working on iOS and Android mobile devices, to businesspeople and parents – who all enjoy the freedom Parallels Desktop for Mac gives them."

The company said Parallels is key for those who increasingly use their home computers, many of them Macs, for business-related tasks. Parallels also offers an enterprise version.

Parallels is also offering a Switch to Mac version of its product, which helps move programs, files, and browser favorites to the Mac.

Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac will be £64.99, while a Student Edition will be sold for £34.95 and Switch to Mac will run £99.95. Upgrades will set you back £35, while those using VMWare Fusion will also get the full version for £35.

Anyone who bought Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac after 25 July can get the upgrade to version 8 for no extra charge.

The Parallels mobile app, meanwhile, got a price cut to £2.99.