Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion reported a 58 per cent increase in third-quarter earnings Thursday to $911.1 million US, or $1.74 a share, on revenue of $5.49 billion.

RIM said smartphone shipments rose by 40 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier, to a record 14.2 million.

tp-100803-blackberry-torch2

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Torch smartphone. ((Courtesy AT&T))

Analysts had estimated RIM would report income of $1.64 a share on sales of $5.4 billion and smartphone shipments of 14.1 million.

RIM shares rose $2.78, or 4.7 per cent, to $61.96 US in after-hours trading.

RIM reports its results in U.S. dollars.

The slightly better than expected shipments suggested the company is doing well in the cutthroat consumer market, where iPhone and Android smartphones provide tough competition for BlackBerry devices.

The company also predicted fourth-quarter revenue in the range of $5.5-$5.7 billion, with earnings per share of between $1.74-$1.80 per share.

In the same period a year ago, the company earned $628.4 million, or $1.10 a share, on revenue of $3.92 billion.

In its second quarter, RIM earned $796.7 million, or $1.46 per share, while revenue grew 31 per cent to $4.62 billion.