NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion ( RIMM) will report earnings after the market's close Wednesday, and the results could give a boost to iShares S&P North American Technology-Multimedia Networking Index Fund ( IGN).RIM's earnings are expected to be $1.28 per share; revenue is projected to be $4.31 billion. RIM is most famous for producing the popular Blackberry cell phone, which was an early leader in the now-burgeoning smartphone sector. The Blackberry has managed to retain much of its popularity recently despite the enormous success of Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone. So far this year, IGN has risen 7.1%, outperforming the S&P 500. RIM's earnings and industry outlook may add to the fund's gains. IGN allocates 7.9% of its assets to RIM and holds other mobile phone makers, such as Motorola ( MOT). If RIM's earnings report creates a favorable outlook for the industry, it could lift other holdings in IGN. A better-than-expected report would confirm that smartphones continue to increase their share of the mobile phone market. This would improve the outlook of companies in IGN that manufacture phone components and operate networks allowing smartphones to run complicated applications and download large quantities of data. Due to the popularity of smartphones, many networks have even reported problems from an excess of demand for data transfers. This trend has continued to the extent that many smartphones now come equipped with the capability to download data from Wi-Fi internet connections in addition to wireless phone signals. The percentage of smartphones shipped with Wi-Fi capabilities is expected to increase from 55% in 2009 to 65%-70% in 2010, according to an ABI Research analyst. As the technology gains ground, it's not only handset manufacturers that will benefit from the expansion. Chipmakers are also expected to be beneficiaries of the growth and, according to Reuters, the companies that will see the most benefit are Broadcom ( BRCM), Atheros Communications ( ATHR), Qualcomm ( QCOM) and Marvell Technology ( MRVL). Qualcomm is a top 10 holding in IGN, accounting for 6.2% of the fund.
Although Nokia ( NOK) leads the pack in terms of sales of Wi-Fi-capable phones, RIM and Motorola, both components of IGN, also produce phones that can use Wi-Fi. IGN is an ideal way to access the growth coming from innovations in smartphone technology that will create demand for new phones and more network usage. The ETF has suitable liquidity for the retail investor and trades with an average daily volume of roughly 115,000 shares. Additionally, IGN has an affordable expense ratio of 0.48%. The fund also has a nicely balanced distribution among its 31 holdings. An ETF with a similar focus is the PowerShares Dynamic Networking Portfolio ( PXQ). However, PXQ has a higher expense ratio of 0.6% and a less liquid daily trading volume of about 31,000 shares. It also lacks exposure to handset manufactures RIM and Motorola, as it focuses mainly on the companies that build and service networks. Investors that want to play the earnings report of RIM after the closing bell today and also want to play the continued popularity of smartphone technology should choose IGN. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass. At the time of publication, Dion had no positions in equities mentioned.