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Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry mobile communications device, on Wednesday reported a 57 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings, but acknowledged slower-than-hoped-for subscriber growth and software sales during the summer.

RIM shares dipped by 3 per cent to $74.90 on the Nasdaq in after-hours trading.

The Canadian company said it added 620,000 subscribers in the three months to August 27, bringing the total subscriber base to 3.65m. Three months ago, it projected growth of between 620,000 and 650,000 subscribers. RIM said demand was damped by “summer seasonality” in all markets, especially Europe.

Jim Balsillie, joint chief executive, said the rest of the year “is shaping up to be extremely robust” in terms of new product launches and partnerships with wireless carriers.

He forecast that the number of BlackBerry subscribers would surpass 5m by early March, including the first users in China. Twenty-three per cent of BlackBerry subscribers are now outside North America.

RIM’s earnings climbed to $111.1m, or 56 cents a share, in the three months to August 27, from $70.6m, or 36 cents, a year earlier. However, second-quarter earnings were 16 per cent lower than the previous three months.

Revenues grew by 58 per cent in the past year to $490.1m. Software revenues, making up 8 per cent of the total, were slightly lower than expected, ascribed to seasonal factors and to customers anticipating the launch of a new version of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The company lifted its third-quarter revenue target to $540m-$570m from $525m-$550m, but left its earnings estimate unchanged at 62-68 cents a share. It expects to sign up 680,000-710,000 new subscribers.“It’s a lift across all areas of the business”, Mr Balsillie said.

For the fourth quarter, RIM projects that revenues will rise to $590m-$620m and earnings to 74-81 cents a share.

According to Gartner, the research company, RIM had a 23 per cent share of the global handheld personal computer market at the end of June and is the fastest-growing seller of “communicator”-style devices that combine the functions of digital notebooks and mobile phones.

But the company faces a plethora of rivals. Palm, another maker of handheld devices, announced an alliance earlier this month.

RIM recently announced an alliance with Intel that will put Intel chips into the BlackBerry.

The alliance includes collaboration on wireless technologies and handset features.

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