Multi-user account support has been a feature of Android since v4.2 Jelly Bean, but to date has been limited to tablets. Today, a Google developer confirmed that the development team “has implemented the feature and it will be available as part of the next public build.”
The confirmation came as a response to a question posted to the Android issue tracker and appears legitimate, although exactly which public build the developer is referring to is open to interpretation.
It’s most likely the feature will appear with the upcoming Android L release, which will bring with it a variety of other profile management features specifically designed for enterprise. Multi-user support is most likely to benefit the average phablet-owning consumer, looking to hand off their device to a young child without allowing access to any sensitive data or purchasing capabilities.
Interestingly, Apple is approaching the same end through different means with Family Sharing on iOS 8. The feature allows up to six to share iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases without sharing accounts, as well as permission controls for children to make in-app purchases. iOS 8 won’t feature multi-user account support, but of course, as a hardware company first, Apple would prefer an iOS device for each family member than shared devices.