Why Android 4.2 phones won't have multi-user login? Hint: Nokia holds the patent

Why Android 4.2 phones won't have multi-user login? Hint: Nokia holds the patent
Android 4.2 came with a new multi-user login feature, which allows you to logoff your important stuff, and go in the tablet with restricted access when you are handing it to your kid, for example. The option is only available on the Nexus 10 and 7 tablets, though, not on the Nexus 4 handset. "Available only on tablets," advises Google in the feature description, and leaves it at that.

This omission has certainly nothing to do with software engineering prowess, of which Google has plenty, but rather something more convoluted, in the form of a Nokia patent filed long time ago, which has booked the multi-user feature for its own phones.

The patent, called "multi-user mobile telephone", was filed way back in May of 2005, and contains the following:

It is hard to argue against such a thorough description, and Windows Phone 8 seems to have taken a good advantage of the fact that Nokia is the patent holder on this one, leveraging its merits best into the Kid's Corner functionality, visualized in our hands-on video below.

source: TechCrunch



1. androidornothing

Posts: 143; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I dont care about phones. Were not living in the 1800s to be sharing phones. All i care about is that my Nexus 10 has it. Thats all that matters.

6. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

yeah android phones are cheap enough for everyone to have one

16. SleepingOz unregistered

Yup and Android is the only platform that gives more for your bucks!

36. JulianGT

Posts: 89; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

Where I live, all phones cost almost the same.

21. abish1234

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

in your country probably..

33. rf1975

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Yes agree. Because manufacturers like Samsung, ZTE, Huawei are making good phone with reasonable price. for example In my area I can buy SIII for $500 and for a iPhone5 $800-900. So android phone price are very reasonable.

10. messiah

Posts: 438; Member since: Feb 19, 2010

"Responding to prompts to change" the answer right there.... don't have prompts ; rather a gesture feature or while logged in voice command to "switch user " without ever having a prompt or dialogue box open. Problem solved. Btw... before apple reads this, I am patenting the idea.

25. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

wait until custom roms come out. Im sure some smart developers will pull the login stuff from the aosp code and implement it

31. SleepingOz unregistered

True.. But imho, no one needs this on their smartphone. I think Google, in turn, should patent multi-user on tablet as it makes more sense on tablet anyway.

30. Donforreal

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

Ugh i remember back in the 1800s when i had to share, it suked...

41. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I care about phones. I dont even have a tablet. There are some of us that dont have tablets. Google, just pay the license fee if there is one....get it done.

2. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

If only they went with android. It isn't a bad idea going with windows phone, but now m$ favours HTC over Nokia, which bet every stake on the windows phone. If it did,Samsung and Nokia would have ruled the entire phone industry.

18. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I don't think Microsoft /favors/ HTC, just that they're giving them "signature" status. There are "signature" Windows computers as well, and while they're good, I'd be looking right past them to the Sony Vaios, Alienwares, FX, XPS, etc

29. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

But they are trying to give the HTC 8X more attention than the Nokia lumia 920, it is really obvious now. You know the Steve ballmer's phone commercial? Yea, I think that was a huge blow to Nokia, since the 8x was used

3. ddxmms1

Posts: 13; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

why don't you just download and app from the play store that locks whatever app you want then give your smartphone to whoever you want !

4. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

this st*pid patent will be invalidated....so freely use it, Google!!!! please!! like bounce effect of r*tten apple has been invalidated....

19. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That patent was invalidated due to prior art. This is a different thing entirely. Besides, I'm sure, if asked, Nokia would work out royalties on their patents; they've been more than willing to do so in the past (even to the point that they allowed apple to keep making their products when they could have had the entire lines shut down)

22. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

exactly, i think certain android fans are starting to go the apple way, ''google can use it google doesnt need to listen'' sums up the comment above yours funny though i bet if it was apple doesnt have multi user login due to nokia they would all be cheering the fanboy levels have risen so much

28. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Are you saying there is no prior art for multi-user functionality? Wrapping multi-user functionality around a phone and claiming novelty is going to be a bit of a stretch. I suspect this patent is going to end up being invalidated.

39. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

no, different users on a SW is a completely normal thing for many decades ;)

5. bohdan4ik13 unregistered

Because of smartphone - it's a personal device but almost nobody have a tablet for everyone in the family. Hint: on xda-developers we would find a solution, how to enable this feature.

7. wendygarett unregistered

The patent should be shorten to about only 2 year so that user can enjoy more advanced functionality, I don't mind Google patent face unlock etc but patent it too long will make people sick... I remember everyone agree Apple patent slide to unlock five years ago but what happened now? I believe many now sick of the Apple patent because of these... Tech patent cannot be too long :(

8. FranksGT

Posts: 167; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

Not really something for cell phones unless your cave people and you all dont socialize and use the same phone!

9. harsha_bonmec

Posts: 14; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

who told android phones wont have this.....?? we will have it... atleast we root users... :P #XDA

11. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

didnt HTC have it in sense?

14. mozes316

Posts: 144; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

More like multiple profiles for one user, but I suppose you could use it in that manner. It just wouldn't be password protected/secure.

12. Aeires unregistered

Of all the companies to get that patent, I can live with Nokia owning it over certain others. For phones though, I'm not too keen on sharing so this would never apply to myself. For those who have to rely on tighter budgets, this might be a drag. Then again, how have these people been getting by all this time without it? Sometimes when we see new ideas or technology, we forget we did just fine without it before, why let it upset us now that we can't get it? I love technology and it's great to see progress and inventions, just maybe we should ask for some of it, do we really need that? In this case, if you do, get a Nokia phone. Problem solved. I'll stick with my Android and be happy with my purchase because it does what I need it to do.

13. papss unregistered

None of you must have children. My child always uses my phone when we are out and i need him to be quiet so he plays games on it. Dont be so narrow minded. You are not the only one in the world and all doesnt have to apply to you to be a good idea

20. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Many of whom post on this site might still /be/ children, so your statement bears significant merit.

34. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

What with portable game systems out there you allow your child to play with your personal telephony device. Then they break it and you have to wait to get a replacement...there are toys for kids, phones are not one of them.

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