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Parallels Access 2.0 remote desktop application for Android and iOS tablets and smart phones is a “must have” for anyone that needs seamless, efficient remote access to PC and Mac desktop applications from Android and iOS smart phones and tablets.

Desktops to Go

Parallels, a well established and respected vendor in the remote desktop access arena for the Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad market has upped its game with the 2.0 release of its Parallels Access application (www.parallels.com/access). The newest version of the remote access package now supports Android phones and tablets. It also delivers a slew of new features for a more improved and seamless remote access experience.

At the same time, Parallels also lowered the retail pricing on the product. Parallels Access 2.0 now lists for $19.99 annually or $34.99 for two years, for individual users (with up to five computers). And finally, the company introduced Parallels Access for Business (www.parallels.com/access-business) which enables organizations to centrally assign, manage, and secure remote access to their computers.

New Features

Besides support for the Android platform, Parallels bolstered Access 2.0 with a slew of new capabilities designed to ameliorate and accelerate the overall remote access connectivity experience. They include:

  • Facebook login integration lets users log in quickly and easily.
  • The ability to launch desktop applications with a single tap right from the home screen of an Android device.
  • A new file browser designed for touch lets Apple iOS users quickly browse and open files, as well as copy or cut and paste them, on their remote computer using Parallels Access.
  • Desktop applications that use a microphone can now be used with the microphone on an iOS tablet or smart phone.
  • The ability to change screen resolution that best fits the particular device type.
  • The Wake-on-LAN feature allows users to wake up a sleeping remote computer.

All of the aforementioned new Parallels Access 2.0 remote access capabilities are essential capabilities for today’s on-the-go corporate professionals and consumers. Now more than ever, users require 24 x 7 ubiquitous connectivity to their desktop applications from their mobile devices. The notion of a workday or a school day that has a defined beginning and end is outdated. It is inconceivable for corporate workers, road warriors or students to be unable to access crucial files and documents – legal briefs, medical records, term papers, spread sheets, blueprints and graphic presentations – whenever and wherever necessary spanning time zones around the globe.

With Parallels Access 2.0 accessing PC or Mac desktops from Android and iOS smart phones and tablets –which account for approximately 90% of the smart phone and tablet market – is straightforward and efficient. Users can opt to log into Parallels with their username and password, or let Facebook handle the authentication.

Jack Zubarev, president of Parallels emphasized the “applification” of both Windows and Mac applications into iOS and Android mobile device environments. “Traditional remote desktop products attempt to show a large desktop on a small mobile device. But Parallels worked hard to make remote access from mobile devices a truly simple and effective experience,” Zubarev said, adding. “Parallels Access 2.0 enables people to interact with full-featured Mac and PC apps with touch gestures just like the apps were made for their iPhone, iPad or Android device.”

Users first download the free Parallels Access application on their Android or iOS smart phones or tablets from Google Play or the iTunes App Store, and then download a free agent onto their PCs and Macs. The Parallels Access applications and agents are free; however users pay to subscribe to the Parallels Access 2.0 service which starts with a two-week free trial and then costs $19.99 a year for up to five remote desktops; a two year subscription is available for $34.99.

How it Works

Parallels Access for Business subscriptions allow IT administrators to centrally manage Parallels Access for their employees, including granting or restricting access and reassigning accounts as needed. Business Account subscriptions start at $49.99 per year for five computers. As a special bonus, Parallels Access for Business will be available for free for an unlimited number of employees, computers and devices until July 31, 2014. Details are available online at www.parallels.com/access-business.

When you’re accessing sensitive data on your computer from your iOS or Android device, Parallels Access gives you the option of blanking the remote computer’s screen to safeguard and secure your personal and corporate data. Parallels Access encrypts all data on your computer and devices before sending it and then it is decrypted on the receiving computer or device. And if you are listening to audio files or movies on your computer with Parallels Access, it will automatically mute your computer’s speakers for privacy. Additionally, you can automatically lock your computer when your remote access session ends.

The Hardware Requirements for Parallels Access 2.0 are:
• iPad: iPad mini and iPad 2 or later running iOS 7.
• iPhone: iPhone 4s and later running iOS 7.
• Android: Most tablets and phones running Android 4.0 and later.

Remote computers can be a PC running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1, or a Mac running OS X Mavericks (10.9), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and OS X Lion (10.7). Although not required, if a Mac happens to be running Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac software (www.parallels.com/desktop) then its Windows virtual machines (Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and/or Windows 8.1) and their applications and files can be remotely accessed in addition to the Mac’s applications and files.

Parallels Access is available in the Apple iTunes App Store and on Google Play with a two week free trial.

Data Analysis

Parallels’ timing with respect to the release of Parallels Access 2.0 couldn’t be better.

The ITIC/KnowBe4 2014 – 2015 State of BYOD, Mobility and Security Trends Survey which polled 600 businesses and consumers in April 2014 found that 94% of survey respondents use their mobile devices for corporate/work and personal/consumer-related functions, compared with 82% that used their mobile devices, in 2010. Additionally, the ITIC/KnowBe4 survey data found that some two-thirds or 65% of businesses allow their users to Bring Their Own Devices (BYOD) such as smart phones, tablets and notebooks and use them as their corporate desktops. And as Exhibit 1 shows, an overwhelming 97% of users deploy their mobile devices for both professional and personal applications.
Users need access to their 21st Century office, classroom or personal information to be no further than the palm of their hand; making remote access to crucial data a necessity. This “always connected” dynamic creates tremendous opportunity for remote access application connectivity vendors like Parallels, nCrypted Cloud, DropBox and others.

Individually, each of these new announcements fortifies Parallels’ already preeminent position in the remote desktop connectivity space. Collectively, the new features, the lower retail pricing and the new support for Android in addition to iOS mobile devices, enable Parallels to address over 90% of the burgeoning mobility market and provide users with top notch remote desktop application connectivity at an affordable price point.

With the release of Parallels Access 2.0, the company has addressed and overcome the two most significant criticisms of its product: pricing and the heretofore lack of support for the Android platform. Both of these issues are significant. Android commands the largest share of the smart phone market and is the other principal player in the tablet arena.

Corporations and consumers alike are price-sensitive. A one-year individual subscription priced at $19.99 or $34.99 for a two years to access up to five remote computers from an unlimited number of iOS and Android tablets and phones is extremely reasonable. Parallels Access 2.0 is also an extremely economical alternative to Microsoft Office 365 Home and Microsoft Office for the Mac. A single user copy of Microsoft Office 365 Home (for five PCs, Macs, plus five iPads or Windows tablets) lists for $99.99 for a one-year subscription. Microsoft Office for the Mac retails for $139.99 for the Mac Home and Student Edition to $219.99 for the Mac Home and Business Edition in the Microsoft Store . And the Microsoft Office for the Mac package only allows the user to legally license the software for a single computer, not five computers like Parallels Access 2.0.

Customer satisfaction is another metric that is crucial to customer adoption. Parallels Access has been popular with iOS users and that is also the case with the latest version. Parallels Access 2.0 received excellent ratings from first time Android users: netting an average 4.1 out of 5 stars in 501 reviews on the Google Online Apps Store within the first several days of its mid-June release date.

There is no doubt that Parallels has competition; the remote desktop access field gets new entrants just about every quarter. GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, TeamViewer HD, and SplashTop Remote Desktop all boast Android compatibility, although with varying feature sets and pricing models.

But what distinguishes Parallels from competitors is the technical elegance and usability of the Parallels Access 2.0 feature set; the depth and breadth of Parallels’ engineering experience and expert technical service and support. The 14 year old firm has over 900 employees and a strong presence in the U.S. and internationally, with offices (including engineering) in Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore among other locations.

Individual customer experiences will vary according to specific circumstances. However, barring unforeseen occurrences, users that deploy Parallels Access 2.0 on robust equipment should enjoy a very, efficient, seamless connectivity experience whether they are downloading business applications, listening to music or watching videos for personal enjoyment via a local network connection.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Parallels Access 2.0 is a “must-have” mechanism for corporate workers and consumers to remotely access Windows or Mac applications and files from their tablets or smart phones. Its breakthrough “applification” technology transforms desktop applications and integrates native mobile features and functions so they are fully usable with touch gestures as though they were made for the mobile device. The result is the industry’s premier Windows and Mac remote access application. Parallels Access 2.0 is a reliable, fast and intuitive experience that transforms mobile devices into effective productivity tools. Additionally, Parallels Access 2.0 is backed up by the company’s broad, deep and extremely knowledgeable technical service and support organization which is quick to respond to and fix any known issues.

ITIC does encourage prospective business and consumer users to download the two week free trial package. It’s also advisable to test other products and compare pricing. If you are a corporation buying in large quantities volume discounts are generally available from all vendors.

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