Back in October, we posted a quick look at some of Google's very early plans for multi-window functionality on Android Lollipop, a feature that had apparently been in the works since at least KitKat. The system, in a nut shell, would allow users to have two apps open at a time, scaling the apps to take up more or less space on the screen, and interact with the overview or Google Search, passing text or other data back and forth.
Today, a reader pointed out an interesting Android commit that makes mention of the feature (about which we've heard nothing official). The commit in question, made January 27th 2015, mentions "multiwindows" briefly, implying that it's a feature destined for some unspecified future release.
As a developer, I absolutely love days like today. If the high-level "improves performance and stability and fixes bugs" changelog of Android 4.1.2 isn't good enough for you, how about we dive into the actual low-level source code commit logs Android engineers made into AOSP since 4.1.1_r1.1 (JRO03D) all the way through today's release 4.1.2_r1 (JZO54K). These commit logs are spread over probably 100+ repositories, so hunting for all of them manually would probably take you days. However, thanks to Al Sutton, you can check them out all in one place.
Be prepared for lots of code jargon and incomplete git commit messages, which probably won't mean much to most of you.
Multi-user support is one of the few remaining things a desktop OS can do that Android can't. The "coffee table tablet" use case would greatly benefit from a multi-user setup, as would an enterprise user who wants to keep work and home separate. It's been a top 20 item on the Android bug tracker since the debut of Honeycomb, so there is certainly demand for it.
As we've seen from my previous experiments in sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, Google likes to leave breadcrumbs in shipping products for the astute observer to find, and the multi-user situation is no different.
Have you ever wondered what the AOSP source tree would look like if someone stitched together a video of every commit, update, and release? Ponder no more, friends, because YouTube user xcco3x has made that a reality. A visually amazing 21 minute reality, to be exact.
A little background info, per the description on YouTube:
The graph represents the source tree. Non-leaf nodes are directories and leaf nodes are files where their color represents the type of file. Files appear as they are modified and disappear if they are not touched for 2.5 seconds.
In other words, each "blast" from a user is a commit.