On Thursday, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise.

Nokia was once the dominant mobile phone producer in the world, but lately, the rise of smartphones has left the company struggling to keep up in a rapidly changing industry. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Nokia over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Nokia

Analyst EPS Estimate

($0.05)

Year-Ago EPS

($0.10)

Revenue Estimate

$8.65 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

(10.3%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

3

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Nokia stay connected this quarter?
Analysts have actually gotten quite a bit more optimistic about Nokia in recent months. They've boosted their earnings calls for the just-ended quarter by $0.03 per share, and they've reversed initial calls for a full-year 2013 loss, instead projecting a $0.06-per-share profit. Yet the stock hasn't seen any benefit from that optimism, as shares have dropped 18% since early January.

Nokia has hitched its future success to the fate of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows 8 mobile operating system. Earlier this month, an AdDuplex report gave Nokia a dominant 80% market share of the global Windows 8 smartphone market. With its Lumia 920 model having become the most popular Windows 8 phone, Nokia has found a way to join the high end of the mobile market.

One thing that U.S. investors need to remember is that the competitive picture abroad is very different from what it is domestically. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) may dominate the U.S. market, but in India, South Africa, Argentina, and several eastern European markets, Windows Phone shipments are actually higher than iPhone volumes, thanks in large part to Nokia's strong brand loyalty both close to its Finnish roots and in other key areas.

Admittedly, Apple has largely ceded the Indian market to its rivals, with CEO Tim Cook arguing that the company has greater potential in China and other key countries. But on that score, Nokia and Microsoft successfully made a deal with China Mobile to get itself into the Chinese market, and Nokia has built even cheaper smartphones aimed at Africa and other emerging markets where income levels prevent more expensive models from being practical.

In Nokia's earnings report, watch for news about whether rumors of a solar-powered Lumia model are in fact true. If so, it could give Nokia a key advantage that could help re-energize the company's efforts and give consumers a new reason to buy into the Nokia turnaround story.

Nokia's been struggling in a world of Apple and Android smartphone dominance. However, the company has banked its future on its next generation of Windows smartphones. Motley Fool analyst Charly Travers has created a new premium report that digs into both the opportunities and risks facing Nokia to help investors decide if the company is a buy or sell. To get started, simply click here now.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, China Mobile, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.