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Forget BlackBerry's Earnings, the Next Phone's What Matters

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors are looking forward to improving first-quarter earnings before the market opens on Friday. Analysts' expectations for Research In Motion's (BBRY - Get Report) range from four cents per share to the most optimistic view of a profit of 50 cents per share.

Figuring out BlackBerry's quarterly earnings is no small feat. Unlike Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android and Apple (AAPL - Get Report) based phones, you can't use what you see around you as a gauge.

Understanding Google and Apple's smartphone market share progress is relatively easy; you could see it all around you as people traded in their BlackBerries for another brand. While BlackBerry was turned into berry juice in North America, the rest of the world continued buying enough of the Canadian smartphone products to keep the company afloat.

Sales outside North America make up a significant amount of revenue. So much so, that if you make the mistake of using anecdotal data, you're likely to underestimate shipments. BlackBerry continues to have success in the emerging market space including India and Indonesia.

Not all shipments are created equally though. Emerging markets represent growth opportunity for all manufacturers including American, Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese. It's impressive that BlackBerry found a way to give legs, albeit lower margin legs to its older smartphones, but that can only last so long if they are not producing new high-end phones.

Other mature handhelds from the previously mentioned countries will continue to exert greater pressure on older BlackBerry while Apple, Andriod, and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) based phones will limit BlackBerry's prospects on the upper end. Ultimately, investors should expect a self-reinforcing feedback loop sending BlackBerry into the dust bin unless they can follow up Z10 (soon) with another equal or even better product.

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