* RIM says carriers impressed with its new BB10 devices
* Subscriber additions lift RIM shares on Nasdaq, TSX
(Adds background, analyst comment, details from event)
By Poornima Gupta
SAN JOSE, Sept 25 Research In Motion Ltd
RIM.TO said on Tuesday its BlackBerry subscriber base has
risen to 80 million from the 78 million it reported earlier this
year, surprising many on Wall Street and sending its shares up
more than 3 percent.
Most analysts had expected RIM, for the first time in its
history, to begin losing subscribers in the recently completed
quarter as it has rapidly lost market share in North America to
Apple's snazzier iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy devices.
RIM has been completely focused in recent months on
launching its new line of completely revamped smartphones that
will run on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Its aging
line-up of devices, currently on the market, have struggled to
compete against the recently launched iPhone 5 and a slew of new
RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins, addressing a gathering
of developers in San Jose, California on Tuesday, said despite
these challenges the company was able to add subscribers in the
quarter ended Sept. 1.
Even as it has ceded ground in the crucial North American
market, RIM still has been able to lure buyers with its
lower-end devices in emerging markets, where consumers are much
more price conscious and where RIM's much-admired BlackBerry
messaging platform gives it a big edge.
But growth from last quarter's base of roughly 78 million
subscribers may come at a price, with gains skewed toward
lower-end devices. That will hurt the closely watched average
RIM is expected to announce results for its fiscal
second-quarter on Thursday. [ID:nL1E8KO3KM]
The company's Toronto-listed shares rose 3 percent to C$6.37
in midday trading, while its Nasdaq-listed shares rose 5 percent
Heins said the company is also getting positive feedback on
its new BlackBerry 10 devices from the carriers that have had
previews of the new smartphones.
"We are making believers out of our partners. We are making
believers out of those who had previously written BlackBerry
off," Heins said.
"BlackBerry 10 is our most important launch ever. And it is
the most exciting launch I have ever led in my career," he said.
The BB10 devices, set to be launched in early 2013, will run
on a new operating system that RIM says will offer a faster and
smoother user interface, and a better platform for apps that are
critical to a smartphone's success.
At an extended demonstration, RIM executives showed off the
new devices' 'flow' and 'peak' features, which enable users to
access important features without leaving the current
application or to move quickly to another function.
"The user experience is unique. I think sufficient initial
developer support is assured," said CCS Insight mobile analyst
"The question now is whether the devices will be
sufficiently competitive and that is in no small way a function
of RIM's ability to spend massive marketing dollars to cut
through the competitive noise," said Jackson, who is attending
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta in San Jose, Euan Rocha and
Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Janet Guttsman, Peter
Galloway and Bernard Orr)
((firstname.lastname@example.org)(+1 416 941 8185)(Reuters
Keywords: RIM DEVCON/
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