RIM trumpets solid quarter, crosses the 100 million BlackBerry mark

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced gains in most of its fiscal first-quarter financial metrics, including increases in revenues, net income and BlackBerry shipments. However, the company's BlackBerry shipments were below what some analysts had expected, according to Reuters.

"RIM achieved significant earnings growth and shipped a record 11.2 million devices during the first quarter, including its 100 millionth BlackBerry smartphone," said RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie. "We continue to be focused on growing our business globally and we believe that the range of exciting new BlackBerry products being released in the coming months will create significant opportunities to accelerate RIM's growth in the second half of the fiscal year."

During a conference call with analysts, RIM executives provided a few more details on the company's planned devices. Executives said the company is planning two significant product launches that will carry high average selling prices. The gadgets will be launched across the company's fiscal second and third quarters. The news dovetails with continuing rumors of a slider-style BlackBerry with a touchscreen, featuring the new BlackBerry OS 6.

RIM also announced plans to repurchase up to 31 million common shares.

Research In Motion--which in the first three months of this year slid past Sony Ericsson to gain the No. 4 slot in terms of global handset shipments, according to research firm IDC--said it expects to post continued gains in its coming quarter. RIM promised revenues in its fiscal second quarter of $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion. However, the company said it expects earnings per share and margins to be in the same general range as its first quarter. As for net new BlackBerry subscribers expected in the coming quarter, RIM said it expects 4.9 to 5.2 million net new additions, and to ship between 11.6 million to 12.1 million units.

Investors though weren't immediately pleased. After-hours traders sent RIM's stock down by around 2 percent in the minutes after the company's earnings announcement, to around $57.21 per share.

In its fiscal first quarter RIM posted revenue of around $4.2 billion, up from the company's year-ago haul of $3.4 billion, and above its $4.1 billion in its previous quarter. As for net income, RIM recorded $768.9 million, up from $63 million in the same quarter last year and the $710.1 million it posted in the previous  quarter.

And what of the company's BlackBerry shipments? RIM announced its smartphone shipments grew more than 43 percent over the same quarter last year to 11.2 million. The company added around 4.9 million net new BlackBerry subscriber accounts in the quarter, bringing its total BlackBerry subscriber account base to around 46 million.

Although RIM continues to chug ahead on Wall Street, investors and analysts continue to worry over gains made by the like of iPhone vendor Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Android promoter Google. Indeed, analysts questioning RIM executives during the company's quarterly conference call repeatedly pressed the company about the competitive challenges it faces. The response from BlackBerry executives generally focused on upcoming products and the growing trend among carriers toward limiting subscribers' data usage, which they said plays into RIM's strengths in efficient use of data.

For more:
- see this earnings release
- see this FierceMobileContent article on BlackBerry OS 6
- see this Reuters article
- see this MarketWatch article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Engadget post on the rumored BlackBerry 9800

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