Nokia ( NOK) fans are more than happy to get 2004 behind them, as hope builds for 2005.The Finnish cell phone leader is set to report earnings early Thursday for the fourth quarter ended last month. And while many on Wall Street expect solid results, the big question is whether the handset giant has overcome its missteps of early last year. Just judging by recent progress reports from rivals -- a weak showing by Samsung and a timid outlook from Motorola ( MOT) -- it looks like Nokia may well be on the path to resurgence. Looking ahead, some bulls see the possibility of a slight reversal of last year. Nokia was dealt a big early setback in 2004 when phone buyers shunned its stale product lineup in favor of folding color camera phones. After dropping several points of market share, Nokia brass grew determined to offer better designs and win back its lost turf. And while Nokia was retooling, Samsung, LG and Motorola rode strong sales momentum. For Nokia, says Charter Equity analyst Ed Snyder, "The question now is: When will this aggressive approach of new product development pay off?" Some answers may come in Thursday's fourth-quarter earnings report. Analysts expect a decent performance from Nokia, with earnings pegged at 23 cents a share on sales of $10.9 billion. Gross margins are expected to be flat to up slightly to 36%. And if the average selling price of phones remains flat at around $139 on unit volume of 60 million or more phones, investors should be pleased. "We believe many investors are focusing on market share as the signal that the company's fortunes are rebounding," says Charter's Snyder, who has a buy on Nokia. He says if market share increases to 34%, the stock will do well. Lehman Brothers analyst Tim Luke is also optimistic. He sees unit volume for the fourth quarter hitting 62 million, which would mean solid growth and some market share gains. "Nokia's likely to make steady progress with both its product portfolio and its cost reduction initiatives as we move through 2005," writes Lehman's Luke. "However, we recognize that near-term catalysts ahead of first-quarter seasonality appear limited." The company is also due to share its outlook Thursday. For the first quarter ending in March, analysts expect the customary seasonal drop in sales. Wall Street is looking for a first-quarter profit of 18 cents a share on $8.9 billion in revenue. On Tuesday, Nokia rose 9 cents to $14.01.