Connectix says that the software, called Virtual PC, allows Mac users to run Windows-based programs with greater performance and compatibility than other software-based emulators.
Mac users have grown accustomed to programs such as Web browsers being released for Windows systems anywhere from weeks to months ahead of Mac versions. With Virtual PC, they can now run Windows programs, though having a powerful Mac helps.
Emulators typically work by making the operating system pretend to be another operating system, like Windows 95 or DOS, but this method sometimes leads to hardware compatibility problems. Connectix says that Virtual PC supports all the hardware functions of a standard MMX Pentium-based PC by making a PowerPC-based computer pretend to be a PC. With Virtual PC, the Windows 95 or Windows 3.11 operating system itself is actually installed on the Mac, and third-party programs are actually running in Windows.
Motorola will be bundling Virtual PC with all StarMax Pro systems sold in the U.S. and Canada, although users will have to purchase the Windows operating system separately. Umax will offer the software on most of its systems and will include the predecessor of Windows, called DOS. Power Computing customers opting for Virtual PC will have Windows 95 included in the package.
A company called Newer Technology, which offers processor upgrades for Mac systems, will also sell the software.