Parallels promises 3-D Windows games on Intel Macs

Desktop 3.0 for Mac will launch in a 'few weeks'

Parallels Inc. will add 3-D graphics support to its virtualization software for running Windows programs on Intel-based Macs, the company said yesterday. This will let Mac users play top-tier PC games.

Desktop 3.0 for Mac, which the Renton, Wash., company said would launch "in a couple of weeks," will support both DirectX and OpenGL titles in Windows virtual machines. To prove the point, the company posted a screenshot of "Quake 4" running on a Mac.

Among other new features or modifications -- Parallels claimed 50 in 3.0 -- is something it called "SmartSelect," which lets users assign a Mac OS X or Windows application as the default handler for any Mac or Windows file type. Clicking on a file designated with SmartSelect then automatically opens the appropriate application, even if the user is currently not in the application's native operating system.

"With SmartSelect, I set Word for Windows to be my default application to work with .doc, .rtf and .txt files, so when I double-click a file with that extension in either OS -- even if it is an e-mail attachment in Apple Mail -- the file instantly opens the file in Word [in Windows]," said Ben Rudolph, Parallels' director of communications.

Until the new version is released, Parallels is discounting Version 3.0 50% from the usual $79.99 full price, and cutting the cost $10 from the normal upgrade fee.

Some current Parallels users were disappointed by the sudden announcement, which meant the company had skipped public beta testing. "I would encourage Parallels to extend the beta for immediate release and to be more open on development," said an anonymous commenter on the company's blog. "It worked well in the past and made record sales. Why go another route?"

"We were getting overwhelmed by the numbers" of testers in previous rounds of beta and release candidate editions, said Rudolph. "Too many comments were just too general and we weren't getting the focused feedback we needed." Instead, Parallels has moved to an invitation-only beta process that sets tougher guidelines on such things as the minimum time that users are asked to contribute to testing the product. "The reason why [3.0] is coming out so fast is because we stopped doing public betas," he said.

Parallels' Desktop for Mac is the only virtualization software tacitly endorsed by Apple Inc. and sold through its online store.

Also see:

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon