While Microsoft pushes its Windows Phone platform to try and regain ground in the consumer market, a New York Times article points out an area where Windows Mobile is losing ground: ruggedized industrial units. Used throughout the retail sector, by couriers, in healthcare, and a variety of other places, rugged handsets are relied upon, and historically these have run the old-style Windows Mobile — up to version 6.5. The NYT suggests that, with Microsoft largely ignoring the enterprise sector in its mobile push, developers could well turn to rival operating systems such as Android to keep up with the modern features that end-users are coming to expect.

For its part, Microsoft suggests that these applications are better served by its Windows Embedded platform — which continues the visual style of Windows Mobile — but the NYT points to the Samsung Galaxy xCover as showing which way the market could be heading. While a rugged smartphone isn't in quite the same league as the enormous devices that it suggests Microsoft is ignoring, we're sure some of the users of these devices would love to see the outdated software and hardware be shown the exit.