And Google introduced the Android version Jelly Bean 4.3. As I landed today on AndroidPIT, after three weeks of vacation, I have not yet had the chance to express my opinion, but there goes: small, necessary, but only increases the expectation for a real (and expected) improvement of Google’s OS with Android Key Lime Pie. Last week, Dan Morrill, an engineer at Google, answered a question that has been raised since the release of Android version 4.2: Why is the “Multi-User” function enabled only for tablets? Check.

Would you “split” your Android smartphone? / © Google, Inc.

Multi-user possibilities have been expanded on Android 4.3 to include profile restriction options. What must have come as a good news for those who do not want to share information such as credit card number, for example. From either hitting this key – or perhaps because there is not much to talk about – many users have wondered why this feature is not available for Android smartphones as well. To me it seems clear: do you share your smartphone? 

Dan Morrill wrote on the reddit platform:

… it is not at all clear how it should work on a phone, specifically with regard to calls and SMS. Suppose you have device sharing enabled and then receive a call. Who gets it? Do you change the current user profile? Only the owner of the smartphone receives? If only the owner can respond, are there no links to the second user? Is it worse for the current user a phone ringing and he not being able to answer, or worse for the father to miss a phone call from his boss because Junior was playing Angry Birds?

The engineer even cited a search as Google’s primary reason for letting multi-user out of this Jelly Bean update. Apparently, users respond negatively to the idea of sharing phones, which is not the case with tablets. Despite this manifesto, Morrill says Google’s developer team can revisit the idea of multi-user mobile phones, even if only for very specific use cases:

It would have felt something like a blocking mode, so Junior could play Angry Birds with his own scores.

In addition, the engineer made it clear that the sharing option that currently exists on tablets is susceptible to activation in AOSP. Meanwhile, power users can try custom Mods or ROMs, and there is no impediment for manufacturers to enable the feature in their custom software.

During the last three weeks, I realized even more the importance of this feature, since many people used my tablet with a certain frequency, as it was one of the only gadgets available among my family members. The fact that someone could access my email account or even download an app from the Play Store for no reason, bothered me. However, my smartphone is something very personal to “share” with a second or third person, so I don’t feel the need to use the multi-user feature on it. What about you?

Does the “multi-user” function make sense on smartphones?

  • Yes, i’m sure.
  • No, because I don’t share my phone.
  • I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not.
  • Android must have the same functionality on any device.

(Only one response is allowed)

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Via Android Police

Cell phones
Google Nexus 7