Tablets go multi user (at last)

06Sep12

Almost a year and a half ago I wrote that tablets should support multiple user profiles:

Multitasking —> multiuser?

As more tablets and similar devices start to appear in the household I’m increasingly convinced that they should have multi user capabilities. A smartphone may be a personal device, but a tablet is a more social, shareable sort of thing. I want to be able to give these things to my wife and kids, but I don’t necessarily want them using my accounts for stuff (and they will of course want to sign into their own accounts). Of course the manufacturers want to sell more devices (one per person) but is this realistic? My bet is that Google will get this right ahead of Apple, and that it just might be the move that makes them win.

Clearly Google haven’t been listening (and as expected neither have Apple)[1], but Amazon are doing this with the Kindle Fire HD, which I think is great. Details are still a little sketchy, but there’s clearly some stuff aimed at kids under the banner of ‘FreeTime’, and I hope there’s some more generic support for multiple users on the same device (though I’m left wondering how this will relate to licensed content like books, music and videos).

I must also say that the Kindle Fire HD looks great from a spec perspective. I’ve been a bit down on the Nexus 7 due to its lack of 3G (which I love on my Galaxy Tab) and limited storage, and the LTE version clearly solves those problems (albeit at a hefty price premium). What it would be great to see is a 7″ tablet with decent storage and cellular wireless – that field is still open.

Updates

7 Sep 2012 – Looks like the new 7″ Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are coming to the UK too, but no sign of 8.9″ models (or anything with cellular Internet).

Notes

[1] I know that Motorola have had a stab at this with the Xoom Family Edition, but the implementation seemed flawed.



2 Responses to “Tablets go multi user (at last)”

  1. At this point, everyone in the house has a tablet but me. I really don’t need one with my laptop and Smartphone. But I would like to get my hands on the new Kindle.

  2. Hi Chris.

    I really enjoy your blog posts, so thank you for those.

    Just to let you know that Google will be implementing Multi User profiles in Android very soon.
    The coding for this has been discovered in a new build of the Android OS.
    I personally am looking forward to this very much.

    http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/07/30/multiple-user-accounts-are-coming-miles-of-code-is-already-in-aosp-and-some-of-it-is-quietly-working-on-devices-right-now/

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/2/3216403/android-multi-user-feature-shown-off-developers-video

    http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/09/google-patents-multi-user-facial-recognition-hopefully-for-android/

    Si


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