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BLACKBERRY SUBSCRIBERS BASE HITS 80 MILLION

In ANYTHING on September 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The same day RIM announced its subscriber base is up, the company revealed BlackBerry 10 will be released across six continents in the first quarter, as it seeks to capitalize on its lingering strength in overseas markets.

Research In Motion Ltd., 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 five per cent.

“We are making believers out of our partners,” RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins told developers Tuesday. “We are making believers out of those who had previously written BlackBerry off.”

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 lineup of devices, currently on the market, have struggled to compete against the recently launched iPhone 5 and a slew of new Android devices.

Heins, addressing a gathering of developers at the BlackBerry 10 Jam conference in San Jose, Calif., said despite these challenges the company was able to add subscribers in the quarter ended Sept. 1.

RIM has already met with 30 carriers to show them the BB10 operating system and the response has been positive, chief marketing officer Frank Boulben said from the conference Tuesday.

“We’ve been hearing things like, ‘Unique, revolutionary, really slick,’ ” said Boulben, who had just returned from a trip that included stops in Singapore, Mumbai and Johannesburg – some of the markets where the BlackBerry remains popular.

RIM is counting on overseas customers to offset shrinking demand in North America, where the BlackBerry has lost ground to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.‘s Android operating system. Even with analysts projecting a 45 per cent per cent decline in RIM’s sales this fiscal year, the company says its installed base of customers continues to grow.

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 John Jackson.

RIM ‘s shares rose five per cent to $6.50 in trading on the TSX Tuesday.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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