Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) said it shipped more than 250,000 Xoom Android tablets during the first quarter. The company also said it shipped 9.3 million total mobile devices during the quarter, including 4.1 million smartphones, and that its net loss shrunk to $81 million.
However, Motorola didn't disclose how many Xooms were actually purchased by end users--the company's CFO noted only that sales to customers was "good."
The results largely beat analyst expectations, according to MarketWatch. Motorola's stock was up slightly in after-hours trading immediately following the release of its first quarter earnings, to around $24.50 per share.
Earlier this month, a number of financial analysts worried about Motorola's prospects in the quarter. Specifically, Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette cut his Xoom first quarter shipment forecast by 25 percent to 300,000 units and said sales were "slow." He also said sales of Motorola's Atrix--the company's Android smartphone for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T)--were being hurt by the $49 iPhone 3GS and the Inspire.
"Execution needs to get better," acknowledged Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha during the company's quarterly conference call with analysts. He pointed to the delay in the company's LTE Droid Bionic phone for Verizon Wireless ("It was a software issue," explained Jha) and the relative dearth of applications for the Android 3.0-powered Xoom.
However, Jha promised the situation will improve: "We have the opportunity to significantly increase shipments second quarter Xoom shipments as compared with the first quarter," he said--though he said the Xoom wouldn't be updated to LTE until this summer, which Engadget reported is a slight delay from Motorola's previous plans. Motorola said it expects to ship between 1.5 million and 2 million tablets this year, and a total of 20-23 million mobile devices (a figure that includes tablets). Motorola executives also promised that the company will release additional tablet devices beyond the Xoom.
In related Xoom news, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said it will sell the Wi-Fi only Xoom for $599.
As for the Atrix--the company's high-end, dual-core Android phone--Motorola did not provide Atrix shipment numbers. However, Jha said Motorola is pleased with the Atrix, and that the company will work to improve its webtop application, which marries the Atrix to a laptop dock and provides users with a laptop-style Web browsing experience. Further, Jha said in May Motorola will release a bundled Atrix and laptop dock for $399. Currently, AT&T Mobility sells the Atrix for $199 with a two-year contract and the laptop dock separately for $499. Jha also said Motorola will release additional iterations of its laptop dock for enterprise and consumer users.
Separately, Jha said Motorola will continue to expand its MotoBLUR service, which collects Motorola smartphone users' social networking messages into a single interface. He said the company currently counts 7 million MotoBLUR users.
Motorola said its mobile devices business scored net revenues in the first quarter of $2.1 billion, up 30 percent compared with the year-ago quarter. The division's operating loss was $89 million, narrower than the operating loss of $192 million Motorola posted in the year-ago quarter. Companywide, Motorola reported a 22 percent jump in year-over-year revenues and a net loss of $81 million--a significant improvement from the $212 million loss the company reported in the year-ago quarter.
In January, Motorola warned that the arrival of the iPhone to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) might cut into its first quarter results. Indeed, analyst firm NPD Group recently said Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) leapfrogged past HTC and Motorola in the U.S. during the first quarter to command 14 percent of the market--behind market leaders Samsung (23 percent) and LG (18 percent).
Motorola executives have previously said that the company would work to diversify its carrier partners beyond Verizon as a result of the Verizon iPhone--the Atrix for AT&T is part of that effort. During the company's quarterly conference call, Jha said Motorola expects "important launches with Sprint as well," but he did not provide details.
For the second quarter, Motorola expects net earnings of breakeven to $35 million and net earnings per share of $0.00 to $0.12.
Special Report: FierceWireless Q1 earnings page
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Motorola unveils Xoom, Android 'Honeycomb' tablet
Analysts contend Motorola Xoom, Atrix sales sluggish
Motorola splits into two companies, Jha pins hopes on Android
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Article updated April 29 with additional information.