I probably won’t find a need for Parallels (nor Boot Camp) anytime soon, since firstly my Mac is still PowerPC based (unless someone sends me a MacBook soon … pretty please!), and since I usually have my Mac and Windows laptops running side by side when working.
But for those who need multiple Operating Systems on their Macs, however, dual- or multi-booting is one option, and Apple lets you do this with Windows using Boot Camp. But those not content with having to reboot each time access to alternate operating systems is needed can use virtualization instead, and Parallels will let you do just this–you can run Windows sessions and programs within OS X and it would be seamless.
The beta release of Parallels a few months back was generally proof-of-concept, but now Parallels is a full-blown product that Mac users with a need to use Windows, Linux, and other PC OSes would appreciate.
The release version is much improved; it makes installation of PC operating systems easier, offers better performance, and includes good USB support. The Parallels Tools make the various Windows versions work better and integrate them with the Mac; I wish the various integration tools were available for Linux installations as well.
Not all potential users will be happy with Parallels’ US$80 price; Microsoft’s Virtual PC for Windows is now free, as are VMWare’s Player and Server versions. None of these free products are available for the Mac, however.
The reviewer found Parallels a worthwhile buy, but wasn’t too happy with the $80 retail price.