Supporting every device is most complicated in the Android ecosystem because "every different OEM has APIs," Marshall said. Each manufacturer has a different flavour of Android, not all devices are updated to the same OS version and often, Android operates differently depending on the carrier, he said.
Supporting iOS 7 has been an arduous process for AirWatch because Apple has added a great number of new features, policies, and restrictions related to apps, he said.
"Second, Apple is really doing everything to really ensure privacy and that involves no longer supporting even passing a MAC address or some of the traditional identifiers back and forth. So we've had to essentially rearchitect so we are communicating and understanding the device relationship to the console."
"That's taken a lot of work, and we have to do that without orphaning millions of devices that are out there already, so it's been a slow step process to get there."
AirWatch plans to support the open-source Tizen OS, said Marshall said. It will also support Amazon's Kindle-branded tablets and Barnes & Noble Nook devices for the education market, he said. Marshall said he didn't know if the company will support Mozilla's Firefox OS.
Analysts at the AirWatch conference from IDC and Frost & Sullivan said organisations must prepare to support several operating systems in their workplace if they are not doing so already.
"We're going to be dealing with multiple OSes, multiple devices and location independence," said IDC analyst Dustin Kehoe.
"Clearly, it's going to be a heterogeneous environment in terms of OS," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Audrey William.
A Frost & Sullivan survey of OS preferences among Australian CIOs and IT managers showed a close race among iOS, Android and Windows, she said. Apple had 41 per cent of the vote, followed by Google with 32 per cent and Microsoft with 21 per cent. BlackBerry came in last with only 6 per cent.
Adam Bender travelled to Melbourne as a guest of AirWatch.
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