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Nokia preventing multi-users on Android smartphones?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 30 Oct 2012 14:40 User comments (1)

Nokia preventing multi-users on Android smartphones? Is Nokia patent limiting multiple users to tablets?
TechCrunch has an interesting write-up about the limitation on the use of multiple accounts with Android Jelly Bean 4.2. It muses that a patent held by Nokia may have forced the feature to be limited to tablets, and not become available for smartphones.

The "Multi-user mobile telephone" patent describes a mobile device "designed to be used by several different end-users at different times."

A first end-user can alter the mobile telephone so that it operates in a manner specific to that first end-user and a subsequent end-user can alter the mobile telephone so that it operates in a manner specific to that subsequent end-user; each end-user has only to respond to prompts displayed on a screen in order to alter the mobile telephone so that it operates in a manner specific to that end-user.

The patent is attributed to inventor Tim Ocock, who is an ex-Symbian employee.

Of course, we all view our smartphones as our personal devices, we generally don't share them. However, Nokia's patent is likely aimed at emerging markets where smartphones are much more expensive for consumers, and a family, for example, could share the same phone.

It is possible that the Jelly Bean 4.2 limitation is there for other reasons. Perhaps multiple user support is just not seen as required on a smartphone in the same way that it is for a tablet PC. It is still an interesting possibility though, and it highlights the wide implications of patents.

Tags: Android Nokia
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1 user comment

12.11.2012 0:28

Are they talking about something like different user accounts on your desktops / laptops with different configurations and application access ?

You are sadly mistaken about a family sharing a single mobile phone in third world countries. The prices are so ridiculously low, sim cards free and the service so cheap that except for homeless people everyone can afford their own. I can buy a monochrome Nokia phone for under US $ 20/= and get 1 year all incoming free + about 90 minutes of talk time for US$ 2/= per year.

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