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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Autodesk, Apple, Google, Adobe and Research In Motion

CHICAGO, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Autodesk Inc (Nasdaq:ADSK), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) and Research In Motion Limited (Nasdaq:BBRY).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Autodesk Unveils New Applications

Autodesk Inc (Nasdaq:ADSK) recently unveiled a new application for Apple's (Nasdaq:AAPL) iPad. The Autodesk 123D Creature app enables anyone to create and print 3D characters. With the help of the application, users can create original characters in a few steps.

The application has tools such as 123D Sculpt App, which allow users to thicken, stretch and sculpt their creatures. Users can print their creatures by ordering a 3D print from Sculpteo's 3D printing services embedded within the application. The application can also be used in sync with other visual effects and animation software such as Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max.

Meanwhile, Autodesk announced a new partnership with The LEGO Group. The partnership will develop a 3D interactive building instruction application for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 platform, which allows users to build and program robots.

The application not only provides alternative to conventional instructions but also allows users to digitally view how the components of the platform fit. This makes it easier for builders to develop sophisticated robots.

The mobile application will be available for both Apple's iOS-based devices as well as Google's (Nasdaq:GOOG) Android-based devices in the second half of 2013.The application can also be accessed over the Internet at MINDSTORMS.COM.

Autodesk enjoys a leading position in the computer-aided designing market. The new applications reflect Autodesk's focus on improving its penetration in the emerging technologies. The new mobile applications will further boost Autodesk's market share going forward.

We believe that Autodesk's expanding product portfolio, broadening industry applications and geographic reach will help sustain long-term growth. Moreover, the new cloud-based products will boost Autodesk's subscriber base in the near term.

Acquisitions have also helped Autodesk to expand its cloud-based product offerings in the recent times. In the first nine months of fiscal 2013, Autodesk acquired 8 companies that include a number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers for approximately $204.2 million.

However, Autodesk's high exposure to Europe amid the lingering financial turmoil in the region keeps us cautious. Moreover, customer concentration and increasing competition from Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) are the other headwinds.

Currently, Autodesk has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

BlackBerry Nears VoIP Deal in UAE

As per media reports Research In Motion Limited (Nasdaq:BBRY) is on the verge of signing an agreement with the telecom carriers in United Arab Emirates (UAE), that will allow the handset manufacturer to offer VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services for the first time in the gulf country. If successful the deal could come as welcome news for BlackBerry maker in the UAE, which is one of the six countries where the company recently launched its BB10 OS (operating System) based device.

Research In Motion has faced resistance in the Middle Eastern countries to launch its VoIP services because the telecom carriers receive high roaming tariffs from the voice calls made by the countries' emigrant populations. The Dubai-based carrier DU and Research In Motion are currently testing VoIP and Internet-based video services and expect to launch it in the near future.

Voice calls are generally charged based on the length of the call and the country receiving the call. However, VoIP calls are offered almost for free once customers have purchased a data plan from a telecom carrier. VoIP is a serious threat to traditional voice calls and according to research firm Ovum the Internet-based service will hurt the telecom industry with $479 billion in lost revenues by 2020.    

Research In Motion, which is popular for its BBM (blackberry Messenger) service has almost 60 million active members and provides free and secure instant messaging service. The company has added a video function to its BB10 OS-based device in addition to the already present voice functions.

If the Canadian handset manufacturer receives the nod to launch the services in the oil rich country, then it will gain an edge over its rival Samsung Electronics

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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