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BlackBerry sells about 1 million Z10s in move to profit

Revenue fell, but the company made a profit during its fourth quarter

Research In Motion Limited, now doing business as BlackBerry, shipped about 1 million BlackBerry Z10 smartphones during its fiscal fourth quarter.

Anything more than a million in Z10 sales in the quarter can be considered a success for BlackBerry, anything less would have been disappointing, according to Ovum. The Z10 is the first BlackBerry 10 OS device.

BlackBerry shipped a total of 6 million smartphones in the quarter, the company said Thursday as it released its quarterly earnings.

Revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on March 2, was approximately US$2.7 billion, down 36 percent from the same quarter of fiscal 2012. Net income from continuing operations for the quarter was $94 million, compared to a net loss of $118 million during 2012.

It had about 76 million subscribers, compared to 79 million during the previous quarter.

While the announcement of the first shipment figures for the Z10 is a momentous occasion for the company, as BlackBerry tries to claw its way back in the smartphone market, it is too early to draw any major conclusions from the figures, according to analysts. That's in part because the BlackBerry Z10 just went on sale in the U.S. last Friday.

"The Z10 hasn't been on the market for the full quarter, first of all. Second of all, and more significantly, the U.S. launch isn't reflected in the results. Also, the Z10 is just one in what will be a long line of products in 2013," said Geoff Blaber, who leads mobile device software research at CCS Insight.

There also have been supply constraints in markets where the phone has been launched, meaning that even if people wanted to buy them they haven't necessarily been able to, according to market research company Ovum. The second BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Q10 -- which has the classic BlackBerry physical keyboard -- won't go on sale for some time, so many of the prime candidates for buying a BlackBerry 10 device will be waiting for that, it said via email.

The first true referendum on BlackBerry 10's success or lack thereof will come after the current quarter, Ovum said.

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