Parallels is releasing its Parallels Access remote desktop app for Android, making it possible to run Windows and Mac applications on Android-based tablets and phones, using an online connection to access apps and files on a computer at home or work.
The company is also expanding its existing Parallels Access iOS app to include the iPhone, and reducing the required annual subscription to $19.99/year, down from $49.99/year previously and $79.99/year when the app launched on iPad less than a year ago. The subscription allows users to access up to five computers remotely from unlimited Android and iOS devices.
The release of Parallels Access 2.0 comes as the competitive landscape gets more complicated for the app. In particular, Microsoft’s launch of Office for iPad, bringing the Redmond company’s widely used productivity apps to the Apple tablet, might satisfy the needs of some users who would otherwise opt for Parallels Access.
However, Parallels Access offers the ability to run not only Office but a much wider variety of apps on more devices, at a lower price. Microsoft charges $69.99/year and $99.99/year for Office 365 subscriptions, depending on the number of device licenses.
Like the iPad version of Parallels Access, the new app for Android has user interface elements designed to feel native to the platform. Unique to Android is a feature for quickly creating shortcuts to individual Mac or Windows apps from the Android home screen.
Parallels’ updated iOS app now includes a new touch-friendly file browser, the ability for remote applications to use the iPad and iPhone microphone, and a new feature designed to more reliably wake up a computer that’s being accessed remotely.
The company is also launching new pricing and management options for businesses, with multi-user Parallels Access accounts for companies providing access to up to five computers for $49.99/year, after a free trial period that runs through July 31.
The Android version of Parallels Access runs on Android 4.0 and later. Apple devices must be running iOS 7. The app is compatible with iPad 2 and later, and iPhone 4s and later. On the desktop side, users need to be running the free Parallels Access Agent with Windows 7 or Windows 8, or Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or later.
Parallels, based south of Seattle in Renton, Wash., is best known for its Parallels Desktop software for running Windows apps on a Mac. The company also offers software and tools to telecom companies and other service providers, helping them deliver cloud-based apps and services to end users.