On a generally slow Friday during a generally slow late August news week, a few mobile items are worth looking at:
— The iPhone has finally been announced to hit the Chinese market, after months of speculation. Apple has signed a three-year deal with China Unicom to distribute the device starting in the fourth quarter. There are some drawbacks, including lack of Wi-Fi (a sticking point for Chinese carriers) and lower smartphone penetration. But if you step back and look at the size of the market (700 million mobile subscribers vs. 270 million in the U.S.), it will be a major opportunity for Apple. The app development market will follow in the region.
— Leading in-app ad network AdMob has acquired increasingly popular ad exchange AdWhirl. This has raised many eyebrows for the inherent conflict that comes with an ad network owning the “mediation layer” that governs the distribution of ads to competing networks. AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui addresses these concerns at TechCrunch.
— From the cool apps dept., “Facebook 3.0” has finally been released for the iPhone and is available in the App Store. It’s received good reviews and has a more intuitive home screen for navigation. It’s currently one of the most popular iPhone apps to date. Meanwhile a lot of attention has been paid to Yelp’s recent upgrade, and the “easter egg” feature, which unlocks an augmented reality feature. Augmented reality will be an area to watch as there’s continued demand and development around search inputs that are more conducive to the mobile device than “finger tapping.” More commentary to come soon.
— From the rumor dept., CrunchGear reports that Qualcomm could bring the Flo TV to the U.S. Sharing the name of the company’s mobile streaming video service, the netbook-like device is built for watching television on the go. This could involve broadcast, but more than likely it will involve Qualcomm’s proprietary streaming video, on which it has invested heavily. The device has been quite popular in Asian markets.