Windows Phone 7's paced, deliberate unveiling this year, Microsoft has been very clear on the fact that it doesn't intend for Windows Mobile -- the legacy platform we know today -- to disappear, arguing that it's got several years of life left in it for certain verticals. We're starting to see that philosophy play out today with the introduction of Windows Embedded Handheld, which is essentially a warmed-over version of WinMo 6.5.3 with some key UI and enterprise-focused enhancements. Microsoft is specifically calling out an "extended support life-cycle" for the platform, a sign that these phones aren't for the gotta-have-it crowd -- instead, the company intends to push these things through corporate fleets where Windows Mobile has traditionally dominated, places where Windows Phone's flashy stylings and locked-down underpinnings won't have the same draw.
To that end, Motorola has announced the ES400 as Windows Embedded Handheld's inaugural device, a rugged smartphone with a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 core, resistive VGA touchscreen, fingerprint scanner, and a trick 3.5G radio that can be user-switched between GSM and CDMA. Naturally, you're not going to see this on carrier shelves, but the ES400 is being pushed as a solid option for field sales and service, healthcare, and retail use -- so if you're working in any of those fields, you might have a harder time shaking off the last remnants of WinMo than you ever imagined. Follow the break for Microsoft's press release.
Update: Sprint just pinged us to remind everyone that you will be able to buy the ES400 through its Business Direct and Business Solutions Partners sales channels, so carriers are offering it -- it's just not really a consumer-facing sort of thing.