BlackBerry saw smartphone sales rise in the most recent quarter, financial year Q1 2014, but failed to make a profit, with losses of $84m ramping up the pressure on CEO Thorsten Heins to turn around the firm. The Canadian company’s latest results show revenues rose – year-on-year – for the three month period, now up to $3.1bn compared to $2.8bn in 2012 – with sales overall of 6.8m Blackberry handsets, though it has not yet detailed what proportion of those ran BlackBerry 10.
The three month period was notable for BlackBerry because it marked the first time that the original BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10, was on sale for the entirety of the quarter. More recently, the Q10 – a version of the original device, with a QWERTY keyboard and smaller touchscreen – joined the Z10 on shelves, though not in all of BlackBerry’s more popular markets.
Revenues grew most in North America – up 30-percent – and APAC – up 35-percent – though EMEA only rose 9-percent. Latin America revenues declined 6-percent, which BlackBerry blames on Venezuela currency restrictions that hit the company’s service revenues.
Overall, BlackBerry saw 71-percent of its revenues from hardware, while 26-percent came from service and 3-percent from software and other sources. Alongside the 6.8m phones shipped, it shipped approximately 100,000 PlayBook tablets, the ill-fated 7-inch slate that failed to take attention from the iPad and Android models.
“During the first quarter, we continued to focus our efforts on the global roll out of the BlackBerry 10 platform,” CEO Thorsten Heins said of the period. “We are still in the early stages of this launch, but already, the BlackBerry 10 platform and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are proving themselves to customers to be very secure, flexible and dynamic mobile computing solutions.”
However, those promising signs aren’t enough to persuade BlackBerry to predict anything other than an operating loss in the second quarter, too.
Next up is the BlackBerry Q5, a more affordable version of the Q10, that trims the specifications for a device expected to be popular with younger users who, over time, have flocked to BlackBerry because of cheap BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) deals. Whether the firm will see that appeal continue when BBM arrives on iOS and Android this summer remains to be seen.