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Multiple user accounts coming to Android

android multiuser aosp

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#1 +Frank B.

Frank B.

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:19

Multiple User Accounts Are Coming To Android: Miles Of Code Is Already In AOSP, And Some Of It Is Quietly Working On Devices Right Now

Multi-user support is one of the few remaining things a desktop OS can do that Android can't. The "coffee table tablet" use case would greatly benefit from a multi-user setup, as would an enterprise user who wants to keep work and home separate. It's been a top 20 item on the Android bug tracker since the debut of Honeycomb, so there is certainly demand for it.

As we've seen from my previous experiments in sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, Google likes to leave breadcrumbs in shipping products for the astute observer to find, and the multi-user situation is no different. After a bit of research, I can tell you that Google islistening. There is a surprising amount of multi-user work being done on Android - some of it is even working on devices right now.

Before we jump into things, we're going to need to learn some vocabulary. "AOSP" is Android Open Source Project, you should know that one. It's the publicly available code base for Android. A "commit" is a code push to this code repository. You're supposed to include a helpful comment with your commit, telling people what the new code is supposed to accomplish. This is Android code, so the commit comments are written by Googlers. In other words: they're accurate.

Now, on to the evidence:

The First Clue

Posted ImagePosted Image

You can't see it, but there is multi user support in there somewhere.

I was originally clued into the idea of multi-user code already existing by Abhisek Devkota, aka "ciwrl," CyanogenMod's Head Moderator. The guys at CM had stumbled upon some interestingsounding methods named "SetCurrentUser" and "onUserChanged." These methods were found inLockPatternKeyguardView.java, a file for Android's pattern unlock. Here's the whole section:

public void onUserChanged(int userId) {
   updateScreen(getInitialMode(), true);

I'm no expert, but this looks pretty straightforward: when the user changes, switch the lock screen over to the new user's lock screen, and redraw the screen so the user can see these changes. It sounds like pattern unlock is listening for a user switch!

There's way more to this than just that one section. Ciwrl also pointed out a few commits to me, and if you start digging through the public AOSP repository, you'll start noticing tons of work related to multi-user functionality. After a bit of work, I've been able to piece together a decent timeline of multi-user upgrades to the AOSP code base.

Source and full article: Android Police

#2 SharpGreen


    Now with built-in BS detector.

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:29

Hmm. That's interesting...

#3 cut



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Posted 29 August 2012 - 09:07

If this is implemented, it will only be for tablets.


on the other hand, this may not be implemented at all....

Linus said that at some point the Android kernel and the Linux kernel will be merged into one....the Linux kernel is multi user so maybe these things we are seeing, is just the Linux kernel being merged into the Android kernel and nothing else....

#4 mikearnill



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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:55

Heard many rumors about it, I am kind of excited about it. I mean this will take mobile era to the next stage, can't wait to see this. It would be really cool to see linux and android kernel together.

#5 techbeck


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Posted 29 August 2012 - 18:41

There is ways to enable multi users in JB now. I made a post a while ago about this.

#6 Livin in a box

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 18:46

There is ways to enable multi users in JB now. I made a post a while ago about this.

Oh? I'll have to have a look for that...

I suppose you can have several account on Android at the moment but only in the Market- I've got 3 Google email addresses and if I download on one of them, when the app opens it will sign into that Google email and any in-app purchases can only go through that email. Not as elaborate as it could be but just a little hint.