For embattled Canadian phonemaker Researcher in Motion there was rare good news on Thursday. The company announced its fiscal Q2 2013 results, and they handily beat the average analyst consensus.
Coming into the earnings report a mood of gloom and doom was pervasive, with many predicting the quarter to be a final nail in the tentative coffin for the smartphone maker. A poll of 36 analysts by Financial Times showed a consensus of $2.53B USD in revenue, a prediction which ZDNet's Larry Dignan described as "ugly", remarking, "A miss wouldn't surprise anyone."
But instead there was a surprise: RIM defying the odds and posting significantly better-than-expected financials. RIM's actual revenue was $2.9B USD -- blowing past the analyst average by almost 15 percent.
That still was only good for a (GAAP) net loss of $235M USD (down from a profit of $329M USD a year ago in fiscal Q2 2012). However, that's substantially better than the $518M USD loss RIM posted a quarter ago.
The smaller loss comes largely thanks to RIM's downsizing and "efficiency" efforts, which involved laying off nearly a third of its workforce.
On the device unit sales front the news wasn't so pretty.
Sales of the PlayBook tablet slumped to around 130,000 units amid SKU cuts -- down substantially from the 260,000 units sold last quarter and also down from 200,000 moved in fiscal Q2 a year ago. Likewise smartphone sales dropped, with 7.4m BlackBerries moving this quarter, compared to 7.8m in fiscal Q1 2013 and 10.6m in fiscal Q4 2012.
More importantly thanks to sales of certain assets RIM increased its cash pile to $2.3B USD. The bad news there is simply that RIM is selling off assets and may not be able to keep pace with losses unless its next generation smartphones win back buyers.
Speaking of which, video of RIM's upcoming BlackBerry 10 handsets has (supposedly) leaked, courtesy of a video editor (Rob Jury) hired to edit the clip.
The above video shows the L series (full-touch) and the N series (QWERTY). The film reportedly was not for official distribution.