RIM shines; Palm getting better

Canadian handset manufacturer RIM (Research In Motion) was on good form during the quarter for the three months to the end of November, notching up an increase in net profit from $396m in 2008 to $628m in 2009.

Third quarter revenues were also up 41 per cent year on year from $2.8bn to $3.9bn, split 82 per cent on devices, 14 per cent for service, 2 per cent for software and 2 per cent for other revenue.

During the quarter, RIM shipped around 10.1 million devices, including its 75 millionth BlackBerry. Around 4.4 million of these were net new additions to the BlackBerry network, with the total BlackBerry subscriber account base nudging 36 million at the end of November.

Analyst firm Informa Telecoms & Media notes that in the mobile handset space, volume market leaders like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson are being challenged by RIM, Apple, HTC and Palm, which are significantly eroding their market share with an assault in the smartphone market.

These challengers will continue to steal market share in 2010, with figures released Wednesday predicting that the market share of the four underdogs will jump to 35 per cent of all smartphones sold in 2009 from 32 per cent in 2008 and just 24 per cent in 2007.

Saying that, struggling US firm Palm isn’t doing so well, but at least its loss is moving in the right direction.

Palm’s net loss for the three months to the end of November hit $81.9m, compared to a loss of $509m in the same period last year. Revenues however did slide to $78m, from $191m in the third quarter of 2008.

The problem, it seems, is that Palm isn’t shifting the units as fast as it needs to be, despite the high profile launches of its Pre and Pixi devices. The company shipped a total of 783,000 devices during the quarter, down 5 per cent sequentially, but up 41 per cent year on year, which actually suggests it’s doing something right with regard to its product line up.

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