Android to get support for multiple users

Android to get support for multiple users
It looks like Google is slowly adding specific code to Android that will eventually be used to enable multi-user support in the operating system. That was found out by AndroidPolice, with a bit of help from a CyanogenMod developer.

Apparently, a new method to the code of the Android lockscreen has been added recently, which reads: "onUserChanged(int userId)". This has served as a catalyst for the discovery of a number of other pieces of code scattered around the OS, all of which hinting at the eventual arrival of the feature. For example, in a commit to the Android source code called "Plumbing in PackageManager and installd for multi-user support," it's clearly visible that there's a new "user" subfolder inside the "data" directory, which is usually used to store app data.

Unfortunately, no graphics have been found to add some substance to the abstraction of all this code. Still, it might as well be too early for Google to announce this feature, considering the fact that 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version of the OS, launched this month. Oh well, maybe next year users of a single tablet will have a way to switch their virtual users easily (because we can't see too many phone users taking advantage of this feature).

source: AndroidPolice via Neowin



1. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Wow Android is evolving & maturing so quickly that it may become the OS of choice in the future, meaning everything will run on Android. That has to be something that MUST send chills up & down Microsoft's spine.

5. Veigald

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

Something to take note of for sure, so MS doesn't get complacent. That said, currently there isn't much pointing to Android being mature enough for much besides phones. And MS on its side has Win8 coming out with apps being ~compatible with WP8, which should bring a halo effect to WP8 and thus market share. Regardless, it's good for consumers.

18. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You do have a valid point. My point is that pretty soon the smartphone will overtake the PC in worldwide distribution. That means that eventually within the next 3 to 4 years there will be more smartphones then PCs. Who knows EVEN sooner. That means that people will be interacting with a mobile OS over a desktop OS. Android currently activates almost 1,000,000 phone PER day. The new personal computer of the future is going to be the smartphone. So in the VERY near future people will be versed with Android just like they are with Windows right now. Soon there will be cars that use Android, home security systems that use Android, ovens, microwaves, refrigerators, desktop computers & the list can keep going & going. Android is easier because it's touch screen. All anything needs is a small touch screen & Android is a possibility. Processing power is exponentially getting more & more powerful, & smaller & smaller. You can have a quad-core microwave that can tell you & keep a 10 year history on what you cooked & how you cooked it. Keep recipes handy, & there are just more & more possibilities that I could spend a whole day talking about . Again this is speculation (very plausible) but the smartphone being more numerous than PCs is going to be a REALITY sooner than later. +1

8. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Windows has 90% computer market share, Apple 8%, Android 1%. Most developers don't believe Android will have success in the PC market. Android's latest version, that is on 0,5% of the devices, still has MUCH less content than latest Android or iOS and is the first version to run more or less smooth. Android is loosing market share in the richest countries of America and Europe respectively, USA and Germany. And that is with Android's only stronghold, the smartphone lagship companies Samsung and HTC having its flagships released, while the Apple and Microsoft big shots - iPhone 5 / iOS 6 and Windows 8 are not yet on the market. Also agree with Veigald. Android isn't more of a danger to the Apple and Microsoft ecosystems than Linux is.

9. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

If Google backs it enough, Android could turn into the most popular Linux distro with support for phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Don't forget that this isn't just Linux. It's Linux backed by GOOGLE. :D

10. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Yeah. But the problem is that Linux even together with Android makes 1.5% of the market share^^. Linux is Linux, it will allways make geek's hearths beat faster, but the world domination still belongs to Microsoft, then Apple.

21. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Yeah, good point, haha. The only problem with Linux is the lack of support for mainstream professional software like Photoshop and Premiere. That's why I still run a Windows desktop. If Google could pull that off with Android, I'd think it'd be fairly smooth sailing from there. All in all, if I couldn't have Android, I'd go with Windows for all my devices.

11. Aeires unregistered

Looks like you don't see much future for tablets then. This is perfect for that environment.

13. Veigald

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

Well, Android hasn't really made much of a splash in the tablet market so far. With Surface and Win8 tablets coming out, I would put my money on Win8 against iPad as the main tablet players.

14. Aeires unregistered

Last I saw, it was over 30% for Android tablet market share. That's a big enough splash for this to be viable. Agree about the Surface, but I think it's going to be more evened out between the three OS's.

16. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

The tablet market is exactly what i am talking about. Apple holds around 66% of the tablet market and Android tablet without the Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Tablet around 20%, market share sinking in Q2. Now we know that most iPad-supporters support Apple products and will stick with it. And in a few month Microsoft Surface will launch... Guess what will happen with Android market share?

17. Aeires unregistered

And in a few month Microsoft Surface will launch... Guess what will happen with iOS market share? Both are assumptions, we'll have to wait and see how they pan out. I've read just as many comments from iPad owners who said they'd buy a Windows tablet if they were affordable.

19. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

REMEMBER the smartphone is going to kill the PC. It's already in the process of doing so. So whatever OS dominates the smartphone segment, means that they are the dominating OS in the world. How easy would it be to put an Android system in your car? How about in your home as a central unit that controls everything from pluming, electricity, heating, security, entertainment, & everything under the sun. If the mobile OS rules which it will in the near future, other industries will need to follow. Right now most of online shopping, & online banking is done on smartphones, so if this trend keeps up everything will be done on our smartphones. Remember it's not "IF" the smartphone will overtake the PC, it's "WHEN". It's a FACT this will happen & the personal computer will have a new definition & guess what the word will be in that definition……”MOBILE” We are witnessing the beginning of a shift from desktop computing to mobile computing. The smartphone is the computer of the future, the advancements that have been made since 2010 are unprecedented. +1

24. Veigald

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

At the moment though, PC's and smartphones are not competitors, they are complements. "Everyone" has a PC/laptop AND a smartphone. There may indeed be a convergence in the not too distant future where you can use your phone as a PC/laptop, but that's pretty far fetched for now, due to practical things like screen sizes, security issues etc.

25. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

At the moment yes but it's going to happen. There will be a time where not everyone has a PC, but everyone will have a smartphone. That time is coming sooner than anyone could imagine. Also let's not forget about the tablet, that will also hurt the desktop computer once they become more & more capable. I am telling you the personal computer is going mobile whether you want to believe it or not. There is nothing we can do about it.

15. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

Android is great don't get me wrong but it is far from being on use on everything. Until android appears on more than just tablets, smartphones, and other smaller use electronics, it will not have that everything impact. Not yet anyway.

22. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I agree, but when Android finally ellipses Windows PC then things will change. +1 to you too.

2. ghostnexus

Posts: 96; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I can't wait to run an Android Desktop.

4. dragonscourgex

Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Just run Linux :).

6. MeoCao unregistered

Linux does not have big ecosystem like Windows.

7. MeoCao unregistered

I think Chrome is better positioned than Android to attack the PC market. But I guess the combination of those 2 OS is even better.

3. dragonscourgex

Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Yea, I would have to think this would be directed to tablets. I see very rare and unlikely use for multi-users on a phone.

12. Evil_SaNz

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

I guess we're not too distant from Android becoming a desktop alternative aswell (soon ported to Intel x86) - being a Linux child and open source would be a nice and free solution for small industries. Of course Microsoft and Apple will try to destroy this free dream =\

20. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

HTC SENSE has it where you can change your home screens already per home/work, etc., profiles - JB CM10 HellyBean has profiles also....useful if you have a kid who likes to play games on your phone and you want to hide apps and only show the ones you want the kid to have access to. This is probably more useful for a CHROME OS desktop....

26. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

That is a built in part of Android 2.3, Motorola phones have that as well. Google is building a competitor to everyone else, they have done well. Apple created the space for the tablet in a big way and Google sees an opportunity to using a single unified approach that scales the OS to the device it is installed on. Talk about being a bit forward thinking for a moment here, MS still has separate OS for mobile and PC as does Apple. Google is taking the leadership role here and attempting to have a fully realized go anywhere OS, that will find itself at home on any type of device. Sounds like it's far reaching, but if it pans out do you understand how easy it will be for you to switch from phone to PC to tablet to TV to any other device that has an Android OS installed on it? Mind you Google is an advertising company, and make no money off the OS but on ads. For a company whose major source of income isn't the OS that it built and distributes to be this dedicated to making it more functional that it's major competitors is admirable. Whilst I don't trust any of these guys, I have to give it up to Google for actually thinking outside the box. One OS makes it easy for developers to get their programs out to the masses as it can be scaled to theoretically any Android 4.0.1 device. I say lets do it, I want to see how Google will make this a unified approach in OS and scaling to fit. I'm excited for the future of technology, now if these other guys stop being sue happy and try to out do one another in the marketplace we as consumers will be in for a treat.

23. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

well, sony has implemented this in their new tablet, the XPERIA tablet, its called Guest Mode, which allows different family members using the tablet (functions like Users in windows) here's a photo of it:

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