NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BlackBerry (BBRY) exceeded analyst expectations today with earnings -- as opposed to a loss -- of 4 cents per share, sending its stock rising.

Shares were up 3.4% to $9.62 in early Friday trading following the company's fourth-quarter earnings report.

For the fourth quarter, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company earned an adjusted 4 cents a share, up from a loss of 8 cents in the fourth quarter of 2014. BlackBerry had $660 million in revenue and shipped 1.6 million smartphones. Analysts were expecting BlackBerry to lose 4 cents a share on $793.69 million in revenue.

Here are the three key takeaways from BlackBerry's fourth-quarter report.

1. Is BlackBerry's Financial House in Order?

After posting two quarters in a row of positive cash flow and earnings, BlackBerry certainly seems to be turning things around.

During today's conference call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that "the financial house is in order" and the company's "financial viability is no longer in question."

"We are a little ahead of our turnaround milestone," he said. "We're only halfway through; now the focus is [on] stabilizing revenue."

That is one crucial focus. This quarter marked BlackBerry's lowest quarterly revenue in eight years. Granted, the company was hit by currency fluctuations which accounted for a loss of $12 million in revenue in the quarter. But BlackBerry still has a long way to go.

2. Hardware Continues to Be a Challenge

BlackBerry is still struggling when it comes to its devices as it goes up against behemoths like Apple (AAPL) - Get ReportSamsung  (SSNLF) Google (GOOG) - Get Report (GOOGL) - Get Report. Nonetheless, it isn't giving up and continues to release new devices such as the Passportthe Classic and the upcoming Leap.

However, hardware still accounted for 42% of Blackberry's fourth-quarter revenue. The company sold about 1.6 million smartphones.

"We are seeing traction in devices," Chen said. "Our product roadmap is quite well received by carriers."

3. Software Is the Future

Software and services, with a focus on mobile security and privacy technology, are BlackBerry's best bets for future growth.

For software alone, BlackBerry reported revenue of $67 million, a 20% increase year over year. Software contributed 10% of the company's overall quarterly revenue, while services accounted for 47%.

As it increases its partnerships with other companies like Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and brings its software and services to other platforms such as iOS and Android, revenue will likely rise.

The company is also working to monetize BBM, its messaging service, as well as its "Internet of Things" efforts to create a connected web of devices in the office and in homes.

"Our software business had a particularly strong quarter," Chen said. "We can sustain the software momentum, but we do have to make investments."