My daughter and I are always using the Nexus 7 I bought. The thing is perfect for most of my media consumption, and rarely leaves my side when I am at home. I installed a few applications for my daughter when I first got it to keep her entertained. I can live with the clutter of some coloring applications and videos for her to watch. The collection of videos I put on the tablet was actually the largest consumption of the onboard memory! This was suitable for a simple single user install, because she was only allowed to use the tablet when I was there, and I controlled this by unlocking it for her.
She figured out my lock screen after watching me input things repeatedly, which meant that I needed to either lock her out, or change how I was using the tablet. I don’t want her sending out random emails, or accessing saved work materials via the cloud. Since she clearly wanted to use the machine to draw, I decided that rather than stop her, I’d just give her a smaller sandbox and I set up a user just for her.
The Nexus 7 has a built in multi-user mode which lets you have three active profiles at once. When you first log in, it creates the initial login experience, and you can customize this setting in any way. The initial user remains the “owner” of the machine, and can boot this new user off and has all root permissions, but otherwise it’s like starting a new tablet experience. I downloaded a few applications using my own account for my daughter to use, but I could have set up a parallel account just for her. I could also limit her access to online materials by removing some of the applications, or customizing the screen in such a way to prevent her from reaching more applications on the machine.
The only annoyance is that there isn’t an efficient way to share media between users. If I have a movie on my user space, my daughter would need to download the same file to be able to have permission to see it. So far from my searches, I’ve only been able to find one “shared” folder for all users, which is the “Android/obb” folder (for whatever reason, this is shared between applications, but media can also reside there.)
Using the /obb folder is a bit of a hack solution, but it lets me dump a file there so I don’t have to cut my storage in half by duplicating everything. Right now my daughter just draws and takes pictures of herself, but if she started using larger chunks of storage this would be an issue. Migrating to the cloud is okay for Wi-Fi friendly usage, but I’d rather control when my daughter gets access to the web. Right now the only major annoyance is when a paid application for children tries to sell her something with a banner advertisement click through to the Google Play Store. Inexcusable.
Eventually my wife will become savvy enough to use a touch screen interface for something she can’t do on her phone, and I’ll carve up the user space once again for her. She uses her phone for a little more now than just calling, and I think I’ve caught her with applications I didn’t even install for her, which is a step for her technophobic nature. She chided my purchase of the tablet as being unnecessary, but it’s far better than I expected. Teaching Glow basic computer skills is going to be fun (and scary!).