Motorola (NYSE: MMI) Mobility is still losing money, but it managed to narrow its losses during its first quarter as it shipped 4.1 million smartphones and 250,000 of its first Android tablet, the Xoom. Excluding special items, Motorola lost $25 million during the quarter, an improvement on losses of $142 million a year ago.
Smartphone shipments were up, compared to the 2.3 million sold in last year’s first quarter by the company, according to a press release highlighting the earnings. And Motorola is also shipping more smartphones as compared to mobile phones in general: in last year’s first quarter it shipped 8.5 million mobile devices, while this year it shipped 9.1 million. That’s tepid growth for its mobile devices overall, but almost a doubling of its smartphone shipments, as more and more people shun feature phones for smartphones. Motorola didn’t disclose shipment numbers for the Atrix, its best product launch of the quarter.
Overall quarterly revenue was $3 billion, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. This was the first quarter that Motorola Mobility operated as a distinct unit from Motorola Solutions, following the 2010 decision to split the historic company in two.
After Motorola’s release hit the wires, Sprint (NYSE: S) confirmed that it will be carrying the Xoom starting May 8 for $599. The Xoom was widely viewed as the Android community’s best answer to the iPad when it was unveiled at CES in January, but response from consumers and reviewers once the device was out in the wild has been less than enthusiastic. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) shipped 4.69 million iPads in the first quarter of this year, and it sold 300,000 iPads last year on just the first day it was on sale: more devices than Motorola sold during the entire quarter.
Updated 6:29 p.m. ET – The Xoom-related question on everyone’s mind (as noted below) was not about Xoom shipments but Xoom sell-through, or the number of tablets shipped to retail partners that actually made it out of inventory and into the hands of consumers. Unsurprisingly, Motorola did not produce a number for Xoom sell-through, but chief financial officer Marc Rothman said that sell-through was “good,” and noted that the Xoom didn’t begin shipping until late February during a quarter that ended in March.
CEO Sanjay Jha addressed the delay of the Motorola Bionic, which was first announced way back at CES and was expected to arrive in the second quarter. It now carries an expected ship date of “this summer,” according to a Motorola news release last week, and Jha said “our execution needs to get better” in order to avoid delayed products like the Bionic from causing larger problems for Motorola.