Samsung's mobile division, despite the ignominious death of the Galaxy Note 7, performed well enough in the fourth quarter to buoy the company's results to its best in over three years.

While much of the $7.92 billion USD equivalent in profit (9.22 trillion KRW) was due to success of Samsung's less public divisions, such as V-NAND memory and OLED displays, strong sales of the Galaxy S7 series and higher margins for its Galaxy A and Galaxy J series, played a role.

This year, it's all about AI.

The company noted that people keep buying larger, more expensive UHD televisions, and it also expects to make gains in its semiconductor business in 2017. All good things, despite slower growth in mobile going forward.

But Samsung is also making big predictions about where mobile is going in 2017 and, as we've already predicted, it's all about AI. "Although the growth of the global smartphone market is expected to slow this year, new services such as artificial intelligence (AI) will be a differentiating factor," the company said in a press release. It also promises to "[introduce] AI-based services on premium smartphones."

It also notes that the "mid-to-low end" of smartphones will improve its sales by doubling down on premium features like fingerprint sensors and waterproofing usually reserved for the more expensive portions of the market. We've already seen that with the Galaxy A 2017 series, and Samsung will be looking to bring the features to its budget Galaxy J series as well.

Finally, relying on momentum from the comprehensive Galaxy Note 7 battery fire report, Samsung says its priority in 2017 will be to "ensure consumer safety and product quality by enhancing product assurance processes, implementing new preventive measures and augmenting a dedicated team of experts."

With just over two months until the reported early April unveiling of the Galaxy S8, Samsung may be up against an even bigger challenger than LG or Apple: its own reputation. Measures taken to ensure customer safety, along with what the company calls "innovations in smartphone form factors" like flexible panels, will boost the company's cache in the coming months, but it first has to win back the trust of the average smartphone customer. A Galaxy S8 with a bezel-free design, embedded fingerprint sensor, AI assistant and curved design may be exactly what is needed.

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