RIM ships record number of BlackBerries in Q4

RIM shipped a record high 4.4 million BlackBerries in the fourth quarter, and 14 million last year.

Research In Motion (RIM) shipped 14 million smartphones last year, including a record high 4.4 million in the fourth quarter, the company said Wednesday.

The popular BlackBerry maker said it added about 2.18 million new BlackBerry subscribers in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended March 1, bringing total subscribers to just over 14 million.

The figures showed BlackBerry is not yet being impacted by credit and economic woes in the U.S. The company's fourth quarter revenue more than doubled compared to a year ago to US$1.88 billion as its net profit soared 120 percent to US$412.5 million.

"We did not see any evidence of a slowdown in our enterprise business outside of normal seasonal trends," said Jim Balsillie, co-CEO at RIM, in a conference call.

The results and a rosy outlook from the company sent its shares up 4.7 percent in after-market stock trading to US$121.25 per share.

RIM forecast its subscriber numbers will rise by 2.2 million in the current quarter, which ends May 31, and its revenue will rise to between US$2.23 billion and $2.30 billion, higher than the quarter reported on Wednesday.

The company's results and outlook paint a far better picture of the mobile phone market than for other companies in the business.

Last month, Sony Ericsson warned it saw slowing market growth for mid-to-high end mobile phone sales in Europe. The company reduced its sales forecast for the first quarter, which ends March 31, to below that of the first quarter last year.

Texas Instruments, the world's second largest maker of mobile phone chips, also last month reduced its sales and net profit forecasts for the first quarter, which ended March 31, saying it saw slower orders for chips used in high-end mobile phones.

The statements stoked fears of a slowdown in mobile phone sales caused by global economic woes.

RIM said it saw the greatest market strength for its handsets in North America.

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Dan Nystedt

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