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2 Killer Features Android Needs

Posted on 13 Dec 2011

After juggling around both an Android smartphone (HTC Thunderbolt) and an Android tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1), there are two killer features I’d love to see in Android that I think would particularly help those who have both types of devices or help those who share a tablet with family members.

Cross-Device Syncing

This is handy for those who have both a phone and tablet running Android, or those super rich folk who have 4 tablets: the ability for apps to sync your data across multiple devices. When I think about this, I’m specifically thinking about games, but it could easily apply to any application.

Picture this scenario: You have a game that you primarily play on your tablet, but thanks to the ability of the Android market to buy once and install on all devices, you also have the game on your phone. You stuck waiting for the train or are at a particularly boring family event and you decide you want to play the game on your phone. Only once you discover that your game progress isn’t propagated from your tablet to your phone, you decide you’d rather not replay all those levels and instead find something else to do on your device.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Google opened up storage within your google account for applications to save limited state data and your could easily start where you left off in that game?

Multiple User Accounts on Device

Similar, but almost counter to the first feature is the ability to have multiple user accounts on the same device. This makes a lot more sense for tablets than for phones (in fact it may not make any sense whatsoever for phones). When I pick up my tablet, I’m inundated with data from other users within my household: bookmarks, browser history, widgets, account logins, etc.

If the tablet had the ability to have multiple logins - much like your computer does - you could simply switch users, log in as yourself, and have all your bookmarks, history and app logins at your finger tips, without having to trudge through your husband or wife’s data. Imagine an app like Facebook, where you’d literally have to log out and back in as yourself. A feature such as this could also increase your privacy. I want my roommate to be able to use my tablet to look up some information, but I don’t want him getting access to my Gmail, Facebook and banking app.

And using the example above, when I go to grab my tablet, I won’t have to listen to my girlfriend get disgruntled that I beat the level of Angry Birds she was stuck on and so eager to figure out herself. The data would be exclusive to our own user accounts.

These two features would help enhance the user experience for those who share devices and those who manage multiple devices. But as they aren’t deal breaker features, and none of the competition sports such features, it’s hard to see Google implementing them soon.

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