All the way back in the ’90s, Qualcomm approached Apple to suggest that it might want to put a radio in its Newton PDA. It could have led to the first ever iPhone two decades early —but instead, Apple told Qualcomm to stick its radio chip somewhere else.
The news came out of a Charlie Rose interview with Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs which aired last night. According to Jacobs, he approached Apple to persuade them to include a radio in the PDA but was told where to shove it. So he took it across the Palm, which welcomed the idea with open arms.
Of course, Palm failed to capitalise on the deal: it turned the technology into the Qualcomm PDQ, which is so obscure it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. In fact, it could be seems as a precursor to the smartphone. Kinda. At least, it had a specially designed mobile operating system along with cellular connectivity.