Earlier today, someone decided to post to the Android issue tracker complaining about the lack of multiuser support for smartphones. Within a few hours, a developer at Google responded and closed the issue, remarking that “the development team has implemented this feature and it will be available as a part of the next public build.” Sounds pretty definitive to us.
On tablets, the use case for multiple accounts (of course, Android has always been multiuser) is clear. The device is often shared among family members, so each user having her or his own account is very useful. For smartphones, though, this feature seems more for business use cases than for home user, where most people will have their own phone.
Pretty sure business users are going to love this: one device, two accounts. One for work, one for play.
I know this because many games let the kids share their new high scores to their parent’s Twitter.
I really hope they add a “turn off account when not active” feature.
The current implementation of multi-user on tablets is “every user account running simultaneously”. Which means, if you have gmail sync enabled on 3 accounts, that sync is running all the time, for all 3 accounts! Even if one of the accounts isn’t enabled or used for a week at a time, it’s still syncing.
Any apps that run in the background will always be running in the background, for every user that has it enabled.
They really need to make the “lock screen” a “login screen”. If you don’t login, the apps for that account don’t run. And if you do login, you have the option of logging out or switching users. The difference being, if you logout, then all the apps associated with that user (including syncing) stops; but if you simply switch users, then the apps keep running.
Without that, multi-user on a phone will suck just as bad (actually worse, considering the battery sizes) than it does on tablets.
(Android 4.4.4 on phone and tablet at home.)