RIM’s BlackBerry numbers offer investors hope

Shares of Research In Motion Ltd rose on Wednesday after the struggling BlackBerry maker announced better-than-expected subscriber numbers and assured its wary investors that its new devices will go on sale in early 2013.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM will announce quarterly results on Thursday and analysts were expecting the company, for the first time in its history, to have begun losing subscribers. But at a developer event on Tuesday, RIM announced that its subscriber base had grown by 2 million in the quarter that ended Sept 1.

The announcement took analysts by surprise, as RIM’s aging line-up of BlackBerry devices has been losing ground rapidly to Apple‘s iPhone and Samsung‘s line of Galaxy products in the key North American and European markets.

“Overall that is a promising performance given RIM’s lackluster portfolio of smartphones,” Scotiabank analyst Gus Papageorgiou said in a note to clients. “We believe largely all of these subscribers came from outside North America as the company continues to lose ground in that market.”

RIM is trying to reinvent itself through a line of revamped smartphones that will run on the BlackBerry 10, or BB10 operating system, on which the company has staked its future.

In an attempt to create a buzz around the new devices, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins gave a preview of the smartphone and its features to its developers at an event on Tuesday in San Jose, California.

TD Securities analyst Scott Penner, who was at the event, said attendees in general were positive about advances that RIM has made on the new BB10 devices that are set begin the carrier certification process next month.

RIM’s shares rose 24 cents to $6.74 in early Nasdaq trading. The stock, which has been hovering around nine-year lows, jumped nearly 5 percent on Tuesday.

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RIM’s BlackBerry numbers offer investors hope