Apple’s Newton platform was considered to be ahead of its time, even though Steve Jobs eventually axed the iPhone-like device when he made his return back to Apple. But even though the Newton was futuristic, it could have been even better if Apple had listened to Qualcomm’s advice.
During an interview with Charlie Rose, Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs said that he tried to convince Apple to put a radio chip in the Newton PDA during the 90s, but was shot down, so he struck up a deal with Palm instead.
Paul Jacobs says that after getting rejected by Apple he took his personal Newton over to Palm and taped a Palm Pilot brochure to the back of it. He then began negotiating a deal that would allow him to put Palm’s operating system on a Qualcomm smartphone.
The result of Jacob’s idea became the Qualcomm PDQ, which isn’t famous for anything but could be considered the world’s first smartphone because it combined a mobile, app-based operating system with cellular connectivity.
Even though Apple didn’t embrace the idea of a cellular connected mobile device when Paul Jacobs brought it up, they revolutionized the mobile phone industry with the iPhone a decade later. And Palm, well they don’t even exist anymore.