RIM posts record highs in Q1

lackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) announced record high subscriber growth and strong device shipments in its first quarter, a sign that some users aren’t putting off smartphone purchases ahead of Friday’s iPhone launch.

In fact, RIM says the hype around Apple Inc.’s iPhone has helped its business by focusing attention on multi-function handsets.

“I think [Apple] did us a great favour because they drove attention to the converged appliance base…we think the attention given to [the iPhone] and its impact on the dynamic has been overwhelmingly positive for us,” said Jim Balsillie, co-CEO at RIM, in a conference call on Thursday.

RIM signed up 1.2 million new BlackBerry subscribers in the three month quarter ending June 2, pushing its total to over 9 million accounts. RIM executives cited strong growth in India, in particular. Sales and net profit at the company both hit all time highs, with sales at US$1.08 billion, up 76.5 percent year-over-year, and net profit up 73.2 percent to US$223.2 million.

The company expects to break more records in its second quarter. RIM forecast that it will add 1.325 million to 1.375 million new subscribers in the quarter with the potential for sales to reach almost US$1.4 million.

“The momentum we are seeing in terms of product launches, carrier support in terms of product launches of BlackBerries, and subscriber additions is exceptional, and we believe it will continue on into the second half of the year,” said Balsillie.

Device shipments will also continue to soar. RIM expects to ship 3 million units in the second quarter, up from 2.4 million in the first quarter, due mainly to new products such as the BlackBerry Curve, as well as continued strength in older models such as the BlackBerry Pearl and 8800, RIM executives said.

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