Research In Motion Ltd shares jumped around 8% on Friday after the embattled BlackBerry maker posted quarterly results that showed it was still able to pull off a surprise as it tackles the formidable task of getting consumers excited over its new smartphone line.
While RIM’s performance gave Wall Street a modicum of optimism, analysts stressed RIM has to now prove that the BlackBerry 10 devices, due early next year, can halt its brand’s downward spiral. That won’t be easy, they said.
RIM stunned investors with stronger-than-expected BlackBerry sales in the quarter ended September 1. It even managed to build up its cash reserves, giving it a fighting chance to market the new BlackBerry 10 line effectively, while ramping up production of the reengineered smartphones. The company is counting on BB10, equipped with a revamped operating system, to arrest a precipitous decline in market share over the past year and longer.
But in the end, the success or failure of the BB10 will hinge by how warmly it’s embraced by consumers, many of whom have already switched to high-end devices like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S III, especially in North America and Europe. Test versions of the BB10 have won praise from carriers and developers, but the true test still hinges on RIM’s ability to win over fans of touchscreen devices.
Even though RIM’s aging line-up has lost ground in North America and Europe, the BlackBerry maker managed to top shipment and revenue expectations in its second quarter, thanks largely to strong sales of smartphones in countries like India and Indonesia.