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Newton could have been Apple's first smartphone

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Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs pitched the idea of putting a cellular chip into Apple's imfamous PDA the Newton, according to a report by the Verge.

Jacobs claimed he tried convincing Apple to turn the Newton into a full blown smartphone. The disclosure is said to be part of an upcoming interview between Rose and the Qualcomm executive.

Apple shot down the idea but Jacobs eventually found a willing partner in Palm. Qualcomm used Palm's PDA OS to turn out the worlds first smartphone in 1999.

Qualcomm's PDQ ended up failing to garner much love. The PDA suffered from a bulky design and hefty price tag. However, Qualcomm's smartphone eventually ended up giving way to the likes of the iPhone a few years later.

The iPhone's fortune was most likely due to timing. In the mid-1990s the technology for a smartphone just wasn't available. It would take a few years before even the infrastructure for truly wireless data would come into existence.

But Jacobs's news is a good reminder that the iPhone development team wasn't working from a blank canvas. Steve Jobs and friends were not the only ones thinking up ways to create truly mobile communications.

The iPhone may not have even existed if it wasn't for the likes of the Newton and PDQ. You could even say the PalmPilot gave Apple some food for thought when making its line of iDevices.

03 Jan 2013

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