The number was in line with Samsung's guidance earlier in the month and reflects record-high earnings from its memory chip division, glossing over the company's fire-prone Note7 woes, which are said to have cost it at least $5 billion since the third quarter.
But the results also come on the back of strong sales of the company's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones, apparently confirming reports that suggested most consumers stayed loyal to the brand despite the absence of the Note7, which was considered to be the closest rival to Apple's iPhone 7.
Samsung said its mobile division generated $2.1 billion in operating income over the last three months of 2016 – an increase of 12 percent over Q4 2015 – while its display business racked up $1.1 billion, thanks to rising demand for the company's OLED mobile displays. (Samsung is also said be the sole supplier of the displays for the 2017 iPhone 8.)
During Samsung's conference call, the company offered a preview of its mobile business plans for the year. As expected, Samsung said its next round of smartphones would include voice-activated artificial intelligence features – leaks suggest the Siri-like feature will be called "Bixby". The South Korean firm also said it would be releasing a phone with a "differentiated design", leading some to speculate that a rumored foldable handset is almost ready for market.
The results appeared unaffected by the scandal surrounding Samsung president Park Geun-hye, who is under investigation over alleged bribes paid to an associate to win support for a merger of affiliates in 2015.