When it arrived in the fall of 2012, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean delivered a feature users had long asked for:support for multiple user profiles on a single device. Problem was, that mode was only accessible on tablets. Rumors speculated a lot about why that was, initially placing the blame on existing software patents that covered such a mode for phones, but then last summer we finally got an official response,describing it largely as a user interface and technical problem: when you’ve got multiple users, to whom should things like text messages and incoming voice calls be directed? Now with the public release of Android L just around the corner, it sounds like Google has finally undertaken the effort to figure this all out, and could deliver a multi-user mode that works on phones as well as tablets.
An issue report submitted to Google’s tracker earlier today made the latest demand for multi-user on phones, and this time Google responded, with a dev marking the issue closed and noting, “the development team has implemented this feature and it will be available as a part of the next public build.”
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the multi-user support will be identical to what we’ve seen with tablets, nor that it will address all the possible fine-grained account restrictions some Android users are asking for, but this still sounds like a big change in the right direction, and we’re itching for the chance to see just how this will be implemented.