Is multi-user support coming to Android?
When Google officially unveiled its newly launched Android™ 4.1, aka Jelly Bean, in early July, it was received with a great deal of excitement. The latest installment of the popular mobile operating system was promised to be the fastest, smoothest Android yet. Google tossed in a handful of other goodies as well, including improved widget functionality, a smarter keyboard and easier photo sharing capabilities.
One thing that was noticeably absent from Google's announcement, however, was the possibility of multi-user support. This is something Android users have been demanding for some time, but Google has yet to make any official moves on the development.
That may soon change, though, as one technology enthusiast may have discovered a nice surprise in Jelly Bean's coding. Writing for Android Police, Ron Amadeo states there is a "surprising amount" of clues to suggest Google is listening to customer demand and working to introduce multi-user support for its operating system.
Amadeo writes that he found hints of multi-user support in a range of functions, including lock screens, installed and running applications, application data, home screen widgets and syncing, among others. He also notes there is a possibility third-party apps will be ready to go when and if Google makes multi-user support official.
Multi-user support on mobile devices is an interesting development. Desktop computers include the feature because most of these machines are shared among family members and co-workers. Sharing mobile devices is far less common. For the most part, a smartphone has one user and one user only. People are a little more likely to share their tablet computers, but even this isn't as common as sharing a desktop or laptop PC. Perhaps as more households adopt tablets, people will be more likely to share the devices with one another.
Writing for ZDNet, Steven Vaughan-Nichols notes that Google doesn't have anything regarding multi-user support to announce at this time. But given Amadeo's findings and the continued demand for the feature, it seems multi-user support for Android could very well be on the horizon.