Qualcomm CEO: Apple Rejected Our Radio For Newton PDA During The 90s

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs has revealed in an interview with Venture Beat‘s Charlie Rose that he had no choice but to strike a deal with Palm, after his attempts to convince Apple to put a Qualcomm radio in the Newton PDA failed during the 90s.

Paul jacobs

The Newton PDA was developed by Apple during the 90s, which was based on an ARM processor and also featured a handwriting recognition software. While most Newton devices were developed and marketed by Apple, other companies such as Motorola, Sharp, and Palm also released devices that ran the Newton OS. Qualcomm CEO said that he took his personal Newton over to Palm, “taped it to a Palm Pilot brochure and began negotiations to put Palm’s operating system in a Qualcomm-powered smartphone”.

That device ended being the Qualcomm PDQ, which has long been forgotten, but remains an important milestone in the journey to the smartphone as we know it. The PDQ could be considered the first smartphone, since it combined a mobile (and app-focused) operating system with cellular connectivity.

Jacobs’ anecdote is particularly interesting now. Apple was responsible for kicking off the modern smartphone era with the iPhone, and, of course, Palm doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s also a sly way for Jacobs to prove that he knew where the mobile industry was headed all a long.

Jacobs will be kicking off the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas as the opening keynote speaker.