Google's new tablets running Android 4.2 allow for multiple users accounts, a first in the tablet space. Image courtesy of Google Play http://play.google.com. Tablets. We all know about this new category of mobile computing devicesand though the market is youngmany of us already own one.

Before the first iPad hit the market a few years ago, I was skeptical that this new class of devices was necessary. We already had PC’s, laptops, and smartphones. The latter two were (and still are) good options for staying connected on-the-go. Was there really a need for something in-between? I sure didn’t buy into the idea.

Boy was I wrong! The first iPad was a smashing success, and Apple has sold more of them every time they release a new version. In addition to the iPad, Google got into the tablet game a few years back with the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Microsoft is now in the game with their hybrid desktop/mobile effort that is Windows 8.

Although I’ve come around to see the benefit of tablets in the last couple of years, one thing I have felt is lacking is the ability for multiple users to have their own apps and files. My wife and I had an iPad for a while and we tried to share it, but there were annoyances such as having to log out of her account on an app like Facebook and into mine, that made the experience cumbersome.

The iPad, I felt, was not ideal for multiple users like a laptop can be, and we ended up getting rid of it.

Multiple User Accounts; How Useful Is It?

Now, however, Google is trying to change the tablet experience.

With the release of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google has added the ability to create multiple user accounts, which may bring new value to this class of device. Finally, it seems, a single tablet can be used by multiple family members without the annoyances that come with single instances of apps.

With this new version of Android supporting multiple users, I’m extremely tempted to purchase a Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 from Google. I personally feel that the ability to switch accounts, like my wife and I do on our laptop, will make a tablet more useful for us without having to buy two.

See Multiple User Accounts in Action

My question for you is, do you think multiple user accounts on a tablet increases the usefulness? Does your family currently own a tablet, and if not, do you think this new feature is a compelling reason to buy Android over iPad?

Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments. We would love to hear how our families are using tablets!

Image by developers.android.com [CC-BY-2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

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About The Author

Scott Holm
Technical Editor
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Scott Holm is Technical Editor of Learning Liftoff. Scott has more than 14 years of experience managing websites and publishing web content. As a tech-enthusiast, Scott enjoys writing about science and technology. Born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area, Scott is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities including hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and summiting some of the tallest peaks in the Pacific Northwest. Scott is also married to his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, and has two loving kids, a dog (Nemo) and cat (Gizmo).