Salesforce1 update will leave many mobile devices out in the cold

Salesforce 'has to draw the line somewhere,' one analyst says

An upcoming update to the Salesforce1 mobile app will dramatically reduce the number of supported devices and effectively leave users of all but the latest and most popular devices out in the cold.

With its Winter '17 release, due to arrive this October, Salesforce is dropping support for all Android phones except the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, and S7 along with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Google Nexus 5X and Google Nexus 6P.

All Android tablets are being dropped as well, with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Samsung Tab A 9.7.

Also being excluded are the iPhone 5 and 5C and the iPad Mini 2, Mini 3, and iPad 4, according to an end-of-support announcement uncovered Thursday by The Register.

With mobile tools for functions including managing sales leads, collaborating, and reporting, Salesforce1 aims to help companies manage their customer relationship management (CRM) efforts.

Following the update, the Salesforce1 downloadable app and the mobile browser app will continue to function as normal on the newly dropped devices, giving users "time to upgrade to a Salesforce1-supported device," the announcement notes. But Salesforce will no longer provide technical support, bug fixes or enhancements.

Essentially, Salesforce is focusing its mobile efforts on the latest and most popular devices, it said. Among users of soon-to-be-excluded devices, however, there are already signs on Twitter of some discontent.

"Software developers have had a similar problem for years with trying to develop programs to work with multiple browsers and multiple versions of those browsers," said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics. "So, most developers today will not support older versions of Internet Explorer, for example."

By limiting its support to the latest versions of iOS and Android on the most popular devices, Salesforce "greatly simplifies its development burden," Scavo added. "Critics can argue about which devices it supports, but it has to draw the line somewhere. Ultimately, it is a business decision." 

It's too expensive for companies to try to support every device, and there are security risks as well, agreed Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.

"The reality is finally setting in for Salesforce," Moorhead said.

Most enterprises are likely already using the devices that will continue to get support, so the impact on them will probably be minimal, he said. "Where I do think Salesforce is missing a big opportunity is in their support for Windows 10, which is not very good."

It's possible this new move will shift resources in that direction, he added.

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