An upcoming feature will let you set up multiple-user accounts on Android smartphones – and that's a boon for business users. Google announced this week via its development forum that the feature will debut with Android L, the next version of its mobile operating system, due this fall. The feature is already available on Android tablets; users can switch accounts on tablets running Android version 4.2 and up with a few taps. But until now, multi-user mode it hasn't been enabled on smartphones.
Though most users are content with a single-user account on their phone, businesses could really benefit from the addition in several ways. For individuals who use their personal Android smartphone for work, the new feature will let you set up different accounts for personal and business hours. That way you can tweak your phone's home screen to include the apps you use most often at work, such as an enterprise-compatible email client, an address book dedicated to business contacts, or an accounting application. Just log into your business account when you arrive at the office each morning to put everything you need for work right at your fingertips.
It's possible that you will also be able to tweak your system settings to match you work preferences. For example, you can adjust notification settings so you won't be interrupted during morning meetings, and change you alert sounds to something discreet and professional. When you get home, you'll be able to switch to your personal account, so your favorite games and social media apps are easy to access.
Businesses that deploy Android smartphones for office and field use will also benefit from the addition of multi-user functionality. Multiple employees will have the ability to log into individual accounts on the same phone, making Android phones better for shift workers. That could help employees stay organized, and cut down on the amount of hardware your business has to juggle.