There are a few different methods of running Windows applications on Chromebooks, but one of the most popular options for businesses and schools is Cameyo, which hosts Windows apps in the cloud for remote access on Chromebooks. Cameyo is now rolling out a few improvements for its customers, allowing Windows apps to appear alongside web and Android apps in the Chrome OS app drawer.
Cameyo is not available to individuals, but businesses and schools using Cameyo’s Virtual Application Delivery (VAD) platform can now access the new web app mode and Google Admin integration. The end result is that IT administrators can set up Microsoft Office and other traditional Windows applications to appear in the app drawer for managed Chromebooks, and opening the shortcuts will open the external applications in a special window.
Cameyo calls this a Progressive Web App mode, but there’s no offline capability or code that runs on the Chromebook itself – it’s just a normal shortcut that initializes the external application without the usual Windows interface elements. Still, depending on latency, this seems like a great solution for organizations with Chromebook deployments that still need the occasional Windows application.
Google recognized Cameyo as a Chrome Enterprise Recommended Partner in February, apparently becoming one of only three such virtualization services. Google is also partnering with Parallels to bring its desktop virtualization software to Chrome OS, which is also only available to organizations.
For normal folks without a company-owned Chromebook, the Wine project (and its various third-party front-ends) is still the best way to run Windows software on a Chromebook. Wine can run on Chromebooks using the Linux apps container and translate Windows code to run on Linux without virtual machines or Windows licenses. Wine doesn’t offer full compatibility, though, and that’s where solutions like Parallels and Cameyo come in.