NEW YORK, ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion ( RIMM), reports its fiscal second quarter results after the bell Thursday, offering an update from the world of also-ran smartphone makers.

The Ontario, Canada-based tech shop has been bobbing through a dead-in-the-water year and needs a successful wave of new BlackBerries to keep the business afloat.
RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsille

Unfortunately, it's the next generation of phones, not the current release of BlackBerries -- dubbed D.O.A. by some -- that represent the lifeline RIM investors are waiting for.

Not to be too dramatic about it, but RIM's chances of competing against Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and Google's ( GOOG) Androids ride on the success of the upcoming QNX devices due out next year.

Co-chiefs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have taken heat for staying the course too long with simple email phones, leaving RIM dangerously late to the app-phone, touchscreen-controlled, mobile computing game.

The new BlackBerry 7 phones -- like the touchscreen Bold -- attempt to deliver some of the features that smartphone buyers are looking for. But the devices are only a small step in the right direction, more damage control than anything else.

The biggest problem with the new BlackBerry 7 line is that, while it gives core BlackBerry fan a decent upgrade, it won't win the new customers that want all the apps and tricks their friends enjoy on their iPhones and Androids.

Investors hope that the ugly view on RIM will lead to a handsome upside should the company offer a better-than-expected outlook on the business.

Analysts expect RIM to post an adjusted profit of 87 cents a share, well below the $1.46 EPS level in the year-ago period. Quarterly sales are expected to fall 3.3% to $4.5 billion from the $5.2 billion mark last year.

Looking ahead, analysts expect RIM's third-quarter earnings to grow 56% sequentially over the second quarter on sales of $5.27 billion.

Analysts don't have high hopes for RIM's PlayBook tablet sales but a few have raised their phone sales estimates for the second quarter slightly above the 14 million units consensus level.

RIM shares are up more than 20% from the five-year low they hit on August 5 but even with that bounce, the stock is down nearly 50% since the start of 2011. The shares were changing hands at $29.94 on Thursday afternoon, up 22 cents ahead of the report. The forward price-to-earnings multiple on the stock is just 5.8X though, less than half that of Apple shares at 12.1X.

TheStreet will cover RIM's earnings in a live blog beginning at 3:45 p.m. ET today.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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