Earlier today, fellow Fool Rich Smith tried to prepare Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) investors for next Tuesday's earnings report by reminding them that analysts are expecting the chip-making giant to report a 13.5% decrease in sales and a 23% decline in profits.

Ouch! That's the kind of news that could fuel a bit more volatility in Intel's stock, which is now selling for $21.65 a share but has fluctuated between $16 and $27 in the past year.

As longtime Fool readers know, I'm bullish on Intel's long-term prospects for a number of reasons. I liked the company's decision this past summer to restructure its workforce. More recently, I was impressed with its new silicon-photonics advances. And thirdly, I have always believed that its sizeable investments in nanotechnology-related research and development will position the company favorably against rival Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD).

All of these projects are long term in nature and won't be reflected in the stock price anytime soon. Increasingly, however, I have become bullish on what WiMax will mean for Intel in the near-to-mid term.

WiMax is short for "worldwide interoperability for microwave access," and it is a standards-based wireless technology. You can think of it as Wi-Fi on steroids. In August, Intel announced a major WiMax deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), and just yesterday, the company received another major boost when Nokia (NYSE:NOK), the world's largest producer of mobile handsets, announced that it will begin introducing cell phones based on the emerging WiMax standard beginning in 2008.

This is good news for Intel because it boosts its bid to make WiMax the dominant wireless broadband technology. And, of course, Intel stands to benefit enormously from this standardization, because it will be the major supplier of the chips that will allow cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices to access the advanced wireless system. (Motorola (NYSE:MOT), which also manufactures much of the WiMax infrastructure, will also benefit from the Nokia decision.)

This latest development from Nokia won't do anything to offset this coming Tuesday's harsh news for Intel. But by giving WiMax a little push, it does give long-term Intel investors a reason to believe that better days are ahead.

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Fool contributor Jack Uldrich owns stock in Intel. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.