Parallels announced today that has released the Release Candidate (RC) of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0, a new version of its award-winning software that enables Mac users to run Windows, Linux, and any other operating system at the same time as OS X. The RC is the final stage of Parallels Desktop 3.0’s private beta testing program that has been operating over the last several months. The final release of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 is expected within the next few weeks.

Parallels Desktop 3.0 features SmartSelect, a new built-in integration tool that allows users to open any file from Windows or OS X with any program from either OS. SmartSelect’s works alongside Coherence, which lets Windows applications run like native Mac applications on OS X.

Parallels Desktop 3.0 also includes a more than 50 additional powerful new features and enhancements, including hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, 'snapshot' backup and recovery of virtual machines, and a new suite of security settings that help secure both Windows VMs and OS X from cross-platform corruption and contamination.

Once Desktop for Mac 3.0 is released in its final version, current users will be able to upgrade to the new product from any earlier version for only $49,99 (around £25). From now until the launch of the final version, however, Parallels is offering an option for users to pre-buy Desktop for Mac 3.0 at the discounted price of $39.99 (£20) – a 20 per cent savings versus the usual upgrade price. The standard retail price of Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 for new users will be $79.99 (£40).