Samsung is said to build 'Project Valley' foldable smartphones this year

Key Points
  • Samsung said to develop small batch of foldable smartphones
  • Initiative is called "Project Valley" inside Samsung
  • First devices reportedly will use two displays instead of one foldable screen
Samsung already offers screens that are flexible and curved, on phones and other smart devices likes its Gear Fit watch. But a truly foldable Galaxy phone isn't out yet, though company officials previously indicated that 2018 could be the year if technical problems are solved.
Samsung Display

Samsung is reportedly ready to pilot its first foldable smartphone, equipped with two displays, later this year.

Korean news outlet ETNews said Wednesday the new smartphone, code named "Project Valley," features two separate screens and can be folded in half.

The report said Samsung will initially build small batches — up to just 3,000 units — in an effort to better understand how consumers might one day take advantage of smartphones that fold.

Samsung's ultimate goal is to build a smartphone with a single bendable display that can also be folded. Comments made by a Samsung engineer last week suggest that the company is working toward launching a mass consumption smartphone with the design as early as 2019.

Samsung ran similar trials when it first started building curved screens, which are now common on its high-end Galaxy S smartphones. A device named the Samsung Round launched in 2013, for example, though it featured a concave design that ultimately didn't make sense in the marketplace due to its awkward form. The company refined that design and settled on what we have today, an AMOLED panel that appears to melt over the edges of the device and cuts down on side bezels.

It's unlikely that most of us will ever get our hands on this "Project Valley" smartphone, but Samsung's tests will help make the dream of truly foldable devices come to life.

Samsung did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.