Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs revealed in an interview this week that Apple turned him away when he tried to convince the company to put Qualcomm's radio technology into its Newton PDA to create a device that could have resulted in an earlier version of the iPhone. 

During the interview with US journalist Charlie Rose on Wednesday, Jacobs revealed that he approached Apple with the idea in the 1990s, effectively pitching the basis of a smartphone: Apple's Newton PDA paired with Qualcomm radio to bring cellular communication to the device.

But, after being turned down by Apple, Jacobs took his idea to Palm and began negotiations to put the Palm operating system in a Qualcomm-powered device, which resulted in the Qualcomm PDQ.

The Qualcomm PDQ, while now largely forgotten, could be seen as one of the first smartphones to emerge in the market, with an app central operating system and the ability to communicate wirelessly that is reminiscent of the products we use today.

Above: Apple's Newton PDA (left) alongside the Qualcomm PDQ (right)

If Apple had accepted Jacobs' offer, its product history could have been very different, resulting in an earlier iPhone-like device that would have been Apple's first smartphone. Apple's first iPhone was introduced in 2007.

Jacobs is set to speak again as he opens the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week with a keynote that has traditionally been hosted by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

[Via TUAW]

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