Research In Motion's ( RIMM) newest BlackBerry -- known widely as Niagara -- will land at Verizon ( VZ) in May, say analysts familiar with the plan.

Niagara is a slimmer version of popular BlackBerry Curve and borrows some of the keyboard design from AT&T's ( T) successful BlackBerry Bold. Like the BlackBerry Storm, Niagara is a 3G world phone, meaning that it works on Verizon's U.S. EVDO network and on Europe's GSM systems.

There has been recent speculation regarding the timing of the Niagara's arrival at Verizon. This is of no small concern for Wall Street observers who see the arrival as a potential last-minute enhancement to RIM's May quarter performance.

Coveted pictures of the Niagara have been lighting up the tech blogs as anticipation builds over the arrival of RIM's latest Verizon-flavored phone.

If Niagara doesn't fall into a last-minute delay, it will be a timely perk for Verizon. Apple ( AAPL) is expected to introduce a new iPhone sometime this year, and many tech fans are eagerly awaiting Palm's ( PALM) Pre phone.

Niagara will also provide juice to Verizon's BlackBerry line up. Storm sales, which have led all smartphones at Verizon lately, are starting to slow down. The Niagara will effectively succeed the Curve -- available at Verizon for nearly a year.

Perhaps even more important is what Niagara means for RIM's plans for global conquest. As a world phone, RIM can sell the Niagara to Verizon's partner Vodafone ( VOD), the world's second largest wireless telco.

RIM's addictive email application has allowed the company to expand beyond its loyal core of business users to a broad, although less profitable consumer market. That expansion has also included a geographical move into big new markets like Europe.

With the Bold, the Javelin, the Storm and soon the Niagara, RIM has beefed up its international phone offering in an effort to keep its smartphone marketshare momentum rising.

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