The pilot scheme, a first for Samsung anywhere in the world, is currently limited to the town of Oranmore, which sits on the outskirts of the city of Galway. That’s certainly disappointing if you’re not one of the 5,000 residents of the town, but it may point to a future of Samsung drone delivery.
- OnePlus 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S21: Which Android phone wins?
- What's our pick? Check out our best drones guide
- Forget Apple Glasses — Samsung AR Glasses concept just revealed
The service uses drones built by Irish company Manna Aero. According to Samsung, they fly at an altitude of around 50-80 meters and can hit speeds of 37 mph. That, Samsung says, allows them to reach homes in around three minutes — which is great if you absolutely can’t wait for that new smartphone.
The service is available now to people in the Oranmore area who buy a device on Samsung.com, and Samsung says it’s keen to expand it across Ireland in the future.
The big advantage to drone deliveries is that they allow a contract-free shipping experience for people who are stuck at home, presumably bored of their Samsung Galaxy S20 and in urgent need of a new device.
While this is a nice bit of PR for Samsung, it’s unlikely that drone delivery of phones will be the largest market for this sort of aerial distribution. Indeed, in current times we’re more likely to see other products such as food and even medical supplies delivered via these quadcopters.
In fact, Manna Aero was supposed to be piloting its drone delivery by shipping takeaway meals to students at the Dublin University campus, until coronavirus shut everything down. The company then pivoted to using drones to send medical and other critical supplies to elderly, isolated people in Ireland.
According to Reuters, a pilot scheme in Moneygall, a tiny town with a population of around 300 people, saw supplies shipped from a convenience store and pharmacy at the Barack Obama Plaza motorway service station. The firm spent weeks testing deliveries to prove the technology works.
It remains to be seen whether Samsung does expand the service, but it feels like an exciting move toward a future where products can be delivered quickly and cheaply — and that has to be a good thing.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited as ever about how tech can make your life better. Ian is the editor of T3.com but has also regularly contributed to Tom's Guide.