This tweet from Tom Warren made me smile. So, it’s 2012 and tablets are finally able to do what the Amiga did in 1985. Seems like a bit of a stretch to be excited about that, right? Sure, until I caught myself getting excited – only a bit, but still – by this piece of news. Update: removed me being an annoyed child.
On the web, I’ve often heard people ask for multiuser support for their tablets. Especially families with children where the iPad or Android tablet is shared between family members, the desire to have your own little digital corner can be strong. Currently, this is not possible with any tablet, so you’ll have to get all fiddly with multiple email accounts and other things.
To avoid confusion, we’re talking about multiple different user-accessible accounts – Android is, of course, at its core, 100% multiuser, just like iOS.
I’m pretty sure Apple is working on this, but as it turns out, so is Google. With Android being open, we can actually see the first bits of this in action. The first rudimentary bits and pieces to enable multiuser support can be found in Jelly Bean, and with a bit of hacking, they can be enabled, as XDA user zanderman112 discovered. A few commands in a terminal, and you have a second user account with its own homescreen, as well as the ability to switch users from the power button menu.
As explained, the feature is far from ready, and ought to be used at your own risk. Still, it shows Google is working on bringing multiuser to Android, which should be a boon for families sharing a tablet. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is something we’ll see in iOS 7 or 8, too. It just makes sense.
It’s strange to realise that very basic and elementary things, which we’ve taken for granted for eons, are heralded as revolutionary new features that get everyone all excited. Windows 8 allows multiple windows side-by-side on a tablet? The future has arrived! Google is working on multiuser for Android? The progress we make!
Since I know a few ex-Be engineers work at Google, I will be sorely disappointed if they don’t shoehorn Baron in there somewhere.