Microsoft's operating systems are everywhere and inside all sorts of products. That includes being used inside what are known as "rugged devices". These products are mainly used by businesses who have to handle electronic devices that have to withstand a lot of physical stress, weather and other conditions. An Example of one such product is the signing pads used by many delivery services; they are also used by utility and medical workers.
The New York Times reports that Microsoft has dominated the rugged devices industry with its operating system for a number of years. However, there's a new problem. Those rugged devices are running on a version of Windows Mobile, which has not been updated for nearly two years. Microsoft has chosen to focus its mobile efforts on Windows Phone, which is aimed at the smartphone market for consumers.
So far, Microsoft has not announced any plans to release a version of Windows Phone for rugged devices. That could leave the field open for other companies to release rugged products based on Google's Android operating system. The report says that Samsung released a rugged smartphone, Galaxy xCover, in 2011 that ran on Android. In addition, many businesses are now using Apple's iPad equipped with rugged covers for various uses.