Motorola Mobility earnings story updated with analyst's comment.

NEW YORK, (

TheStreet

) --

Motorola Mobility

(MMI) - Get Marcus & Millichap, Inc. Report

defied naysayers with a strong sales beat and lighter-than-expected losses.

The Schaumburg, Ill. phone maker posted an adjusted loss of 8 cents a share, narrower than the 48 cent loss in the year-ago quarter and better than the 12 cent loss analysts had expected.

Sales for the first quarter were $3.03 billion, up 22% from the $2.5 billion revenue level a year ago and well above the $2.84 billion analysts were looking for.

The company says it sold 4.1 million smartphones, more then the 3.9 million many analysts had expected. Motorola also says it shipped more than 250,000 Xoom tablets, a number that does not necessarily compare with retail sales.

Potentially sluggish store sales raised concerns about a pile up of unsold phones and Xooms, but Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley didn't see any signs to worry about.

"Inventory didn't look out of line, so I'm not sure it will be a concern," Walkley said.

The solid numbers from Motorola come as rival

Research In Motion

TheStreet Recommends

(RIMM)

slashed its profit outlook Thursday by 10% on weak BlackBerry shipments.

The first quarter was not expected to be an easy one for Motorola and RIM. Sales of the popular

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report

iPhone at

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report

robbed Motorola and RIM of a leading sales position. And sales of the

HTC

Thunderbolt 4G probably didn't help Motorola or RIM at all.

"With a well-recognized brand, a strong balance sheet and industry leading intellectual property, we have the right assets to deliver an exciting pipeline of products, continue to grow our business and further improve our financial results," CEO Sanjay Jha said in a press release Thursday.

Looking ahead, Motorola said it expects to swing to break even in the second quarter. The company is guiding for a net income between 0 to 12 cents a share, that is a range lower than the 12 cents analysts were looking for.

Motorola shares, which have dropped 18% this year on fears of heavy competition, rose 2% to $24.50 in afterhours trading Thursday.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/MoritzDispatch.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.