BlackBerry narrowed its net loss to $148 million US in its third quarter and did better with adjusted earnings than expected, but ultimately missed expectations with lower revenue on fewer smartphone sales.

Early Friday, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company's posted a net loss equivalent to 28 cents per share, compared with a loss of $207 million or 39 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

All figures are in U.S. dollars, the currency the company reports its accounting in.

On an adjusted basis, BlackBerry delivered a profit of one cent per share. That's better than the small loss of two or three cents per share that analysts were expecting.

Despite some small wins, overall investors didn't welcome the numbers, as the stock lost about six per cent in premarket trading on Friday. The shares closed at just over $10 in New York on Thursday, while buy and sell orders were coming in around the $9.40 per share level early Friday.

The focus was on the top-line drop in revenue, as the company struggled to sell more of its core product: smartphones.

Revenue down

Revenue was $793 million versus analyst predictions of $931 million, and down compared to a year earlier, when revenue was $1.19 billion.

BlackBerry sold 1.9 million smartphones in the quarter, falling short of the 2.1 million sold in the previous quarter this year.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been working to turn around the company's money-losing operations, and earlier this week launched the Classic, a throwback to its popular older smartphone models, but with an updated design and features.

Chen said Wednesday that the new phone is meant to appeal to loyal business customers.

"A lot of them pulled out their BlackBerry and told me, 'Don't mess around with this thing. Don't mess around with the keyboard, don't mess around with the trackpad,"' Chen said.

With files from The Canadian Press