- Candy Crush Friends Saga launched an augmented reality (AR) feature called Hungry Yeti exclusively for gamers on a Samsung Galaxy device. The latest version of the game will be released on Aug. 30 to coincide with the release of the Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus, according to an announcement.
- K-pop stars Lisa and Jisoo of musical group Blackpink appeared in a promotional video showing them playing with the AR feature at the Stockholm office of King, the Activision Blizzard-owned game developer that makes Candy Crush.
- Hungry Yeti lets players feed cookies to Yeti, a main character in Candy Crush Friends Saga, to score a daily gift that can help players progress in the game. Galaxy owners must point their mobile cameras at a flat surface to open a portal and see the character come to life. Owners of a Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10 Plus will also be able to activate an exclusive Yeti dance by shaking the S Pen.
Samsung aims to reach younger consumers in its promotion for the Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus by partnering with King on exclusive Candy Crush content endorsed by K-pop stars. Candy Crush is one of the most popular games of all time on Android, the mobile operating system that powers Samsung's smartphones. Last year, Candy Crush boosted its user base by 17% to 230 million people, per app researcher Sensor Tower, demonstrating the enduring popularity of a mobile game first introduced in 2012. The exclusive game content for Galaxy users may urge people to upgrade their devices or switch over from another brand of smartphone.
This year marks the first time that Samsung is simultaneously introducing three models of Galaxy Note devices, with the addition of a 5G version. Reviews of the devices have been mostly positive, but it remains to be seen whether consumers will feel compelled to upgrade their existing phones amid the promise of high-speed 5G tech. U.S. consumers are holding onto their smartphones for an average of 33 months as a lack of innovation gives them reason to upgrade less frequently, per a recent survey by Strategy Analytics. Global smartphone shipments fell 2.3% to 333.2 million in Q2 from a year earlier, a smaller drop than the 6.6% yearly decline observed in Q1 2019, the International Data Corp. found.
Sales for Galaxy's new 5G device could provide an early indication of consumer adoption of the next generation of mobile phones. Samsung's home country of South Korea reached 1 million 5G subscribers in the first few months since the official launch of commercial service on April 3 — beating the rollout of 4G service in 2011, Venture Beat reported.
U.S. adoption has been slower as wireless carriers introduce service in scattered urban areas. Verizon last week introduced 5G service to parts of Phoenix, the 10th city in its planned nationwide expansion. Sprint this week added 5G service in Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, bringing its total number of U.S. cities to nine. AT&T offers service in about two dozen cities, while T-Mobile covers six urban areas, Android Police reported.