Something a lot of us really want to see in Android, is support for multiple accounts on a device. With the ever increasing uptake of tablet use, it would be pretty awesome to be able to have one tablet with a different account for each member of your family. Lord knows, you wouldn't want your kids Justin Bieber apps littering your home screens so being able to give them their own sign in would be positive for all. You do it on your computer, so why wouldn't you want to do it on your tablet.
Over recent days and weeks since the launch of Jelly Bean, various parties around the interwebs have been diving into the code and really getting into the details. Your average user -- and sometimes average Android Central writer -- wouldn't even know where to begin or what we might hope to see. Thankfully for us the community is filled with those who are never happier than when knee deep in code, and what has been recently revealed is reference to future multi-user account support. It's clearly not even close to being ready for the prime time -- if it was, we'd have it already -- but it is there. And, with a little bit of tinkering, you can see it for yourselves on your Jelly Bean device.
The key word is tinkering, and the key components are root access and a terminal emulator on the device. Heading into the terminal, you have to enter the command for superuser access, "su", and once you're in you can go ahead and create yourselves a new account. The next command you'll need to enter is:
pm create-user (insert account name)
And that's it. When you come out of terminal back to the home screen, hold down the power button and the menu presented to you will look a little bit like that you see here. Upon selecting your alternatively created user account, it'll be as if you've just fired up your device for the very first time. Tutorials and all.
So, it's pretty cool to try out, and it's great news that it's there -- somewhere -- because it just reinforces the chances that future builds of Android will be seeing this as a full feature. But, while cool, it's far from usable. For one, any app updates that your main account notifies you of allows a backdoor into the Play Store and all the apps you've already purchased. Hitting the Play Store icon from the app drawer does prompt to add a Google account, but with a hole the size of that you aren't going to want to put much faith into it just yet. And, without passwords to protect each login, you're really better off not bothering.
But, we need to remember again that this isn't a feature yet, and it is far from finished. The story is, it should be coming in the future. Maybe a future Jelly Bean update, maybe the next version of Android, who knows. They're obviously working on it though.
Just for a little extra if you want to take a look at this for yourselves, hit the break for a walkthrough video.