Viewdle could lead to multi-user profiles for Android tablets

The facial and gesture recognition technology is perfectly suited for shared Android devices. Ice Cream Sandwich was a good start, but now we need more.

Shared tablets could benefit from multiple user profiles identified by facial recognition technology.

When I read the news this morning that Motorola had acquired facial and gesture recognition company Viewdle, the first thing that crossed my mind was, "Here comes multi-user profiles for Android."

Why? Because it's the next logical step for the platform, and one that could help differentiate it from Apple. That, and it's something for which I'm really hoping. Assuming I read the tea leaves properly, future versions of Android will introduce the capability to unlock a device with your face that leads to individual profile settings.

As we've seen over the past years, it's becoming increasingly common to find tablets in the average household. And, although the price has continued to drop, we're not quite at a point where families are buying multiple devices.

Sharing is nice and all, but what about privacy, personal settings, or preferences? Not everyone is keen to hand over a tablet that's full of business e-mails and photos. To address this issue, some companies are turning to multi-user profiles. In other words, little Johnny does not have to see all the apps and widgets that dad uses for work.

As both the Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD have introduced the feature, I suspect this will become a standard selling point for those $200 devices.

Turning to Android tablets as a whole, Sony also included something similar with its Xperia Tablet S. Looking ahead, this feels like something that consumers may come to expect out of a shared tablet.

AndroidPolice recently reported that there are signs of multiple-user profile support in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). While this is not proof positive that it's due in the next release of Android, it does hint at things to come.

To me, one of the cooler features introduced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was the capability to unlock your device by using the front-facing camera. Indeed, you could argue on both sides as to whether it was entirely accurate, necessary, or even helpful, but it was something new and unique for smartphones and tablets, particularly for Android.

Fast-forward to today with Motorola's acquisition of Viewdle and it seems like these two technologies are converging. The question is whether Motorola keeps the tech for itself or if it ultimately gives it to the Android masses.