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UPDATE 1-BlackBerry reports loss as smartphone sales keep sliding

(Adds analyst estimates, details, background)

TORONTO, March 28 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd reported a quarterly loss on Friday as smartphone sales continued to slide across all regions.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $423 million, or 80 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended March 1. That compared with a year-earlier profit of $98 million, or $19 cents a share.

Revenue fell to $976 million from $2.68 billion.

Excluding restructuring charges and other one-time items, the company reported a loss of $42 million, or 8 cents a share in the period.

Analysts on average had been expecting a loss of 55 cents a share, on revenues of $1.11 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said during the fourth quarter it recognized hardware revenue on about 1.3 million BlackBerry smartphones compared to about 1.9 million devices in the previous quarter.

It also said during the period about 3.4 million devices were sold through to end customers, and this included shipments made and recognized prior to the fourth quarter. The company said 68 percent of these devices were BlackBerry 7 devices, indicating that traction around its new line of BlackBerry 10 devices remains weak.

The company, whose devices have lost ground to Apple Inc's iPhone and smartphones powered by Google Inc's Android operating system, is for now focusing attention on its services arm that secures mobile devices on internal networks of big clients, as it attempts to engineer a turnaround.

Under the leadership of new Chief Executive John Chen, the Canadian tech firm is also putting the emphasis back on its once hugely successful keyboard devices.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha, Allison Martell and Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama)