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Apple Turned Down the Chance for a Cellular Newton PDA in the ’90s

Apple Turned Down the Chance for a Cellular Newton PDA in the ’90s

During an interview with Charlie Rose on Wednesday, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs told how Apple turned down an offer from Qualcomm to include the company’s radio technology in the Newton PDA back in the ’90s.


During the interview, Jacobs told Rose (viaVentureBeat) that before smartphones existed, he pitched an idea to Apple that had in it the basic underpinnings of the now prolific mobile technology: a Newton PDA with embedded Qualcomm radio for cellular communication. The idea was rebuffed and Jacobs took his plan to now-defunct PDA maker Palm, which ultimately partnered with the company to create the Qualcomm pdQ.

While largely forgotten in the annals of mobile electronics, it could be argued the pdQ was one of the first smartphones to hit the market. With an application driven operating system, and mobile capabilities, it was a precursor to the iPhone and today’s Android devices.

Apple decided to go with offering users expansion slots for customizable connectivity options instead of building in a dedicated radio.

Jacobs story is an interesting look at what might have been if Apple had decided to go with Qualcomm’s offering.

Jacobs will be kicking off the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week with a keynote speech.

  1. Taylorconor says:

    About the only time in history Apple opted to go for expansion slots over an imbedded chip…

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