Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) will report its February quarter this Thursday, March 28, before the market open. Analysts are looking for mixed results as the company attempts to stem its market share slide with its new Z10 and upcoming Q10.

Blackberry bbry

Research firm RBC Capital expect revenues of $2.77B vs. the consensus of $2.84B on 6.8M total shipments at $247 ASP. They expect 500k BB10 shipments at $522 ASP, growing to 2.0M units in the current May quarter. Cash may drop $400M to $2.5B (~$4.77/share). RBC expect -$0.35 EPS, vs. the consensus of -$0.29.

Stock volatility tied to uptake of Z10.

According to RBC, it’s still early to draw a discernible trend for BB10 and positive early indications in Canada and the U.K. may soon be replaced with mixed uptake in other markets. Checks show limited carrier advertising commitments in the U.S. and limited enthusiasm among U.S. consumers.

Important metrics investors should focus on.

Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is unlikely to provide specifics on BB10 shipments and sell-through, and it might be too early to get a sense of gross margin improvements from last quarter’s 31.6%. BB10 shipment estimates on the Street range widely (and wildly) from 8M to ~30M for CY13.

Why are some investors long?

Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) shares are trading just above tangible book value ($12/sh) and at 0.4x EV/S, so longs are looking at the stock from a risk/reward basis: a new product cycle, a sticky base of 79M users, and a robust smartphone market are attractive to investors.

Why are 147M shares out of 525M short?

BB10 is not enough to stem the market share slide. Competition is getting more fierce. Incremental unit growth of the new devices may mean higher sales and marketing dollars and CY14E EPS of $0.04 may move lower as a consequence.

According to Sterne Agee – cash growth may reverse:

Analysts are concerned that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s $2.9 billion cash position may decline due to increased spending and investments in working capital. Moreover, Sterne Agee’s analysts believe its road to profitability is unclear with material decline in its high margin services fees (36% of revenue) and rising build-ofmaterials (BOM) costs.

According to RBC, the true measure of success will be not just units, but also sustainable profitability and it may take Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) 2–3 years to reach sustainable earnings growth. Shares may remain range-bound between $12 and $18. Floor may move lower in the near term as cash balance decreases. Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) may need a family of devices (higher and lower) to cater to its 79M sub base.