Qualcomm has secured a place as one of the major chip vendors in the current smartphone market, and it turns out that the company knew where industry was heading. In an interview with Charlie Rose, CEO Paul E. Jacobs let slip that Qualcomm once tried to sell Apple on the idea of putting a radio in one of its Newton products. The company’s idea was rejected, causing Jacobs to pitch Palm on the idea of powering a Qualcomm smartphone with Palm's operating system. That idea ultimately came to fruition in the form of the Qualcomm PDQ, a phone that married PalmOS functionality with cellular connectivity.
The inclusion of a radio could have added some extra heft to already large devices
It’s a handset that draws a comparison to modern smartphones, but it’s not hard to see why Apple passed on the opportunity for a Qualcomm radio. The Newton line was equipped with PC Card slots, letting people add any connectivity options they saw fit. The technology would also have been much more expensive at the time, and the inclusion of a radio could have added some extra heft to already large devices. Still, Jacobs’ admission goes to show that Apple isn’t the only company trying to skate to where the puck is going to be.