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Profits for BlackBerry phone and tablet-maker Research in Motion (RIM) slumped during the second-quarter, amid slowing demand for its current-generation devices and tougher competition from rival Android-powered gadgets.

RIM’s profits for the three-month period ending August 27th were £209 million. That was a 59 per cent drop from the year-ago-quarter when profits stood at £506 million.

The worse-than-expected showing came amid a backdrop of a fall in shipments, with 10.6 million BlackBerry handsets shipped over the period – down from last year’s figure of 12.1 million.

Also down were shipments of its tablet challenger the PlayBook, which dropped by 300,000 units to 200,000.

Commenting on the figures, Ernest Doku, technology at expert at uSwitch, said: "The problem for RIM has been a lack of distinction between the cheaper and high-end offerings, all of which possess the BBM, physical keyboards and impressive e-mail services that BlackBerry has now become synonymous with.

"Why buy the most expensive handset, when the entry-level model can deliver 90 per cent of the BlackBerry experience?"

He added: "A revamped selection of Bold and Curve phones revealed last month showed RIM’s commitment to catering to this new younger demographic, with touchscreen functionality, social media integration and improved web browsing a reflection of what mobile phone owners now expect from their handsets.

"However, being squeezed at the premium end by the iPhone and flagship devices from HTC and Samsung, as well as at the lower end of the market by the deluge of affordable Android phones, has made it difficult for BlackBerry to carve out a space in the competitive smartphone sector."

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