MOBILE phone maker BlackBerry made a surprise return to profit during the fourth quarter after sales of its latest model reached the one million mark.
The Canadian firm, which has lost ground to rivals Apple and Samsung in recent years, is pinning its hopes on the Z10 handset, which it claimed is the “most innovative mobile computing platform in the market”.
BlackBerry – formerly called Research In Motion – sold about six million smartphones and 370,000 tablet computers in the three months to 2 March. Sales of the Z10 beat analysts’ forecasts for about 915,000 units.
Chief executive Thorsten Heins said: “We are excited with the opportunities for the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the commitments we are seeing from global partners and developers.”
The group posted a profit of $98m (£65m) for the fourth quarter, compared with a $125m loss a year ago. Analysts had predicted that the firm would remain in the red. Although revenues fell by more than a third to $2.7bn, profits were boosted by a strong improvement in the gross margin, which rose from 33.5 per cent a year ago to 40.1 per cent on the back of higher average selling prices.
Heins said marketing spending would rise sharply in the current quarter to support the global launch of the Z10 handset.