Blackberry plans to push QNX into the Internet of Things at CES

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BlackBerry Jumps as Software Goal, Handset Profit in Sight.

With about a month of sales for the new device under its belt, BlackBerry was vague Friday about how its first Android smartphone has performed so far in the marketplace. “Numbers will tell us, but the initial 30 days, so to speak, have been quite positive.

BlackBerry Ltd. gained the most in almost a year after boosting software revenue and saying it will likely pull its struggling handset unit into profitability within the next two quarters.The Canadian software and smartphone company will showcase new advances being made by its infotainment unit at the Computer Electronics Show, a premier gathering of the tech world in January in Las Vegas, Chief Executive Officer John Chen said Friday. “You’re going to see our advanced driver-assist technologies and solutions,” Chen said on a conference call with analysts to discuss earnings results. And I don’t want to over-hype that situation,” chief executive John Chen told analysts Friday as BlackBerry delivered better-than-expected financial results.

In its fiscal third quarter, BlackBerry reported a loss excluding certain items of 3 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate for a loss of 14 cents. The struggling smartphone maker announced a 12% rise in revenue for its latest financial quarter, the first time in two years it has reported back to back rises in revenue. A pioneer of the smartphone industry and the former market leader, BlackBerry lost that position years ago as competitors such as Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy attracted most of its longtime users.

Revenue was $557 million compared with projections for $488.8 million, boosted by a jump in software revenue to $161.5 million, up from $54 million in the same quarter last year. The Waterloo-based company said earlier this week it was partnering with Luxoft Holding Inc. to work on semi-autonomous driving technology like that used by Tesla Motors Inc.’s cars.

Chen decided not to provide Priv sales figures, emphasizing that the availability of the device will spike to 31 countries by the end of February when the company’s fourth-quarter ends. Chen, who has shifted BlackBerry’s focus to security software as its smartphone business shrinks, has spoken often about the importance of securing vehicle software as computers take over more functions in cars. But BlackBerry did provide some information by releasing its usual tally for sales of all devices, including the Passport and other older models that use the company’s own operating system.

Carmakers have begun incorporating semi-autonomous features in cars like the ability to stay in a lane during turns or sense when the vehicle ahead is stopping and apply the brakes without input from the driver. About 700,000 devices were sold, which is a steep decline from 1.9 million at the same time last year and also down from 800,000 in the second quarter of this year. BlackBerry (TSX:BB) (Nasdaq:BBRY) shares were nearly nine per cent higher in early Friday trading on the TSX as investors digested the latest financial report, which showed revenue came in above expectations and the company’s loss was far less than anticipated. To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in Toronto at gdevynck@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net Molly Schuetz, Jacqueline Thorpe When BlackBerry’s competitors introduce new devices next year, the company will likely have to reduce the price of the Priv to be competitive, Chen said.

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