Smartphone, Xoom Shipments Up At Motorola, But Division Losing Money

Motorola (NYSE: MMI) exceeded analyst estimates for revenue and earnings per share during its second quarter, according to numbers released Thursday. Shipments of its Android mobile devices rose during the quarter, but Motorola still hasn’t found a way to make its mobile division profitable.

For the three-month period ending July 2, Motorola Mobility recorded $3.3 billion in revenue, up 28 percent from last year and better than analyst estimates of $3.1 billion. Excluding one-time factors, net income was $26 million, compared to a loss of $87 million a year ago. That translates to $0.09 in earnings per share, a solid beat compared to estimates compiled at *Yahoo* Finance of $0.06.

But Motorola Mobility includes two groups: Mobile Devices, which makes the smartphones and tablets, and Motorola Home, which makes set-top boxes and networking gear. Mobile Devices posted an operating loss excluding special factors of $31 million, which CEO Sanjay Jha pledged to fix by the end of the year. The loss came despite increases in shipments of both smartphones (4.4 million) and Xoom tablets (440,000).

Like in April, Motorola did not define how many of those shipments actually made it in the hands of customers, otherwise known as “sell-through” in industry jargon. The company will hold a conference call at 2 p.m. PT to discuss its results, and that question will very likely be posed by financial analysts wondering if anyone has started making headway in the tablet market against Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). Apple sold 9.25 million iPads in second quarter and more than 20 million iPhones.

The Home division is keeping the company profitable overall, with net operating earnings of $90 million, up from $58 million a year ago.

Motorola’s third-quarter outlook did not please investors, who punished the company’s stock in after-hours trading. Motorola said it expects earnings per share to fall between break-even and $0.10, when the consensus expectation of analysts was for $0.24 in earnings per share for the current quarter. Likewise, Motorola’s full-year profitability outlook was below previous expectations and spanned a huge range: from $0.48 a share to $0.60 a share, well below the consensus estimate of $0.71 for the full year.