CES 2013 Stories January 11, 2013

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International CES 2013 is officially ending, so we decided to share some of what we saw from the show floor and surrounding events. 9to5Mac has tons of CES coverage for some of the most interesting new iOS accessories, advancements in display technology, and new Apple-related products we saw at the show right here, but below we have put together a collection of photos and video we shot while walking the many acres of CES exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Enjoy.

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TYLT’s Energi backpack charges up to three iOS devices at once, we go hands-on (Video)

We went hands-on with the new ENERGI Backpack from Tylt, a company with products we’ve enjoyed in the past, in the video above. There are many power bags on the market that include built-in batteries to recharge your mobile devices while on the go, but we were quite impressed with these new backpacks from Tylt. They are hitting the market for between $150 and $200 at the end of March. They include a 10,400-mAh-lithium ion battery with the ability to charge up to three devices at once and dedicated pockets for your iPad, iPhone, iPod, and MacBook.

CES 2013 Stories January 9, 2013

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The makers of Pebble—the $150 iPhone- and Android-compatible smartwatch that raised more than $10 million on Kickstarter— just announced at CES 2013 that it would finally begin shipping the device Jan. 23.

All 85,000 backers will receive their watches within six to eight weeks. Check out LiveStream to watch a replay of the entire announcement in Las Vegas.

9to5Mac is live at CES 2013 and heard first-hand that the previously announced RunKeeper integration will not début on the initial product but will instead land in another one to two months. Also, a limited edition transparent Pebble will go to at least one backer.

Pebble uses low-energy Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, and it can send alerts, among many things, and includes light sensors, four buttons, a three-axis accelerometer with gesture detection, and a 144-by-168-pixel display in black and white ePaper.

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Amongst the crowded booths of case makers and Bluetooth speaker products at CES, today we came across a few interesting new iOS accessories hitting the market in the near future. The first is the i-Massager from China-based company E-Tek. The i-Massager is a certified medical TENS product (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that uses an iPhone app to control the frequency and intensity of the massaging pulsations it emits. The app will be available on the App Store when the product eventually launches sometime in March, and it provides access to preset massage patterns while also allowing you to fine tune the experience and even save your preference to the unit for use without your iPhone at a later date. There will be a 30-pin version of the product for iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3, but also a Bluetooth variant that will launch for compatibility with Lightning iOS devices. The company hasn’t set a retail price, but hinted it should be well under $100.

The i-Massager wasn’t the only iOS-connected massage product being shown off at CES today. Below is a product called iMusic BodyRhythm. It is a massaging vest that syncs with the music on your iOS device. The product launched on a Kickstarter this morning, and it comes with a companion app that will allow you to select a song to sync the massage to, increase the intensity, and even play drums or shake the device to control the thumping of the massage while playing along to a song. You’ll also be able to use the massage vest without syncing it to music or an app. iMusic BodyRhythm is supposed to hit mass production for $149 retail in March, but we went hands-on today at CES:

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CES 2013 Stories January 8, 2013

Celluon’s Magic Cube turns any flat surface into a Bluetooth keyboard

I’ve seen these little devices that shoot out a virtual keyboard a few times before, but this was the first time that I’ve ever used one first hand. Celluon’s Magic Cube attaches to your iOS device via Bluetooth and shoots out a red virtual keyboard on a fairly flat surface (Note: Our camera didn’t pick up the red keyboard very well, but the video below shows how it really looked). Then it tracks your fingers as they move across the virtual keyboard and inputs to your iOS device the virtual keys as you ‘press them’

But, how does it really work? Can you use this as a keyboard for your iPhone?

Cashwrap-Incipio

Live from the CES show floor at the Las Vegas convention center, accessory maker Incipio just finished showing us their new product for iPhone. Known as a Cashwrap, and landing in March 2013, it is an NFC-enabled iPhone case that allows iOS users to take advantage of the ISIS Mobile Wallet service that officially launched in October on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon for NFC-enabled Android devices in select regions. Incipio also informed us that it has teamed up with AT&T on the project—making Cashwrap AT&T’s ISIS solution for iPhone coming.

The product will launch for iPhone 4 and 4S initially and will be available for sale through AT&T brick-and-mortar locations for $60 to $70. Incipio’s full press release and a short video of the Cashwrap up close and personal from the CES show floor below: expand full story

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We first talked lovingly about Sharp’s amazing 32-inch 3,840-by-2,160-pixel display in November, but now that we’ve gone hands-on, we got a full-on crush. Called the “PN-K321”, the $5000 display is aimed at medical imaging professionals and high-end image/video professionals.

And me, obviously.

To be honest, the gallery, taken with Canon’s new 6G DSLR, doesn’t do it justice. Please, Apple: Here is your next iMac Retina and Thunderbolt display.

These displays aren’t just beautiful. The IGZO technology also uses a fraction of the power required for today’s LCDs. While most of the power used is still in the LED backlighting, the IGZO pixels save a great deal of power —as much as 90 percent vs. traditional displays— and can still stay on even after the machine has powered down, something great for photoframe-type functionality.

Apple decided to not go with Sharps’ IGZO displays for its latest round of iPad launches. It instead sourced display components from AU Optronics, LG Display, and Samsung, but several reports in the past indicated Apple is interested in the technology. Apple was even recently rumored to be potentially making an investment in the failing company—much like Apple partner Foxconn previously agreed to.

Sharp also has some other fun stuff on display that could wind up in Apple products, including:

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Trade-in value on broken iPhone 4S as much as mint condition Galaxy S2

Here are some interesting charts from Gazelle at CES that compare trade-in values of the iPhone versus the competition. As you can see from the images above and below, the iPhone, like many Apple products, have tendency of retaining a higher trade-in value longer than other devices. In many situations, months after the release of a device, a broken iPhone 4S with a completely shattered display is worth more or about the same as a seemingly mint condition Galaxy S2 or Galaxy Nexus. A gallery of all the stats Gazelle had on display at CES is below:

We’ve already seen 100-foot (30 Meter) Thunderbolt Optical cables from Corning and others, but we had a chance to drop into Intel’s CES booth this morning to discuss their Thunderbolt products. While there wasn’t much new to us, we did note the new “thin” one-meter cable. It is as thin and flexible as any USB cable we’ve seen and still carries a bus-powered charge for devices. We’re told they will begin to drop in price significantly as volume production picks up.

We went hands-on with a 30-meter optical cable (below). It is thick but lighter than you’d expect from a cable that size. Also, I’m guessing it doesn’t carry a charge—contrary to the information provided by the spokesperson. expand full story

ThinShield, the world’s lightest and thinnest iPhone 5 case

Sanho, the company behind the HyperJuice external battery products for Mac that we’ve reviewed in the past, just unveiled its latest lineup of products at CES 2013. While introducing some minor updates to its HyperJuice 2 unit (it’s now 12W instead of 10W), as well as the second generation of its iUSBport product (now with two USB ports), I was surprisingly most impressed by its new eco-friendly polypropylene iPhone 5 case…

At just 0.3mm thin, ThinShield is the world’s lightest and thinnest case, according to Sanho, and will land in Q1 for just $20. Normally, I do not use a case on my iPhone 5 (I opt for a leather sleeve instead), mainly because of the extra bulk it adds to the device. Good news for those that come from the same line of thinking: the ThinShield is barely noticeable, especially when throwing black on black or white on white (depending on your iPhone color). Thanks to ThinShield, you’ll soon be able to get scratch and dirt protection while still being able to enjoy the design Apple intended. I’ll be first in line.

Kensington’s $60 Proximo Fob and Tag system helps keep track of iPhone 5/4S

Kensington just introduced an app-enabled “proximity monitoring system” today, dubbed “Proximo”, that allows iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S owners to keep track of their smartphone 24 hours a day.

According to a press release, Proximo offers “a unique way to track multiple valuables with a last-seen map pin-drop feature, an active proximity dashboard and extended battery life on both its Fob and Tag.” In other words, similar to Kensington’s $99 BungeeAir released last fall, the system is a low-power wireless fob that sits in users’ pockets and sounds an alarm when they move too far away from their device.

The starter kit, which costs $59.99, includes the Proximo app for tracking the iPhone and valuables, a Fob to attach to keys, and one Tag for finding a “valuable of choice.” Those who want to find and locate more items can purchase another Proximo Tag for $24.99 each.

The 8mm Fob and Tag system has a six-month battery life and uses Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology:

Proximo™ works by setting up a wireless connection between the iPhone and key Fob or Tag using Bluetooth® Smart Technology. Compatible with iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, Proximo’s App dashboard is “always on” and can track up to five items concurrently. The proximity distance (sensitivity) of each key Fob and Tag can be personalized. Proximo’s App dashboard shows the proximity of each Fob and Tag. Pushing a button on the Fob or tapping “Find Fob” icon from the Proximo App dashboard triggers an alarm that helps the user locate their phone, keys or other valuable items.

The starter kit is now available for pre-order at Kensington.com. Check out the press release below or promo video above for more details.

iFrogz to unveil $70 Caliber Advantage mobile gaming controller; Belkin to display new $80 and $50 iPad keyboard cases

ZAGG’s iFrogz brand announced that it would unveil a new Caliber Advantage mobile gaming controller at CES 2013 in Las Vegas today.

The controller fits the iPhone or iPod touch and acts as analog game controller that attaches to the mobile device:

The Caliber Advantage controls the action via the device’s Bluetooth® connection, providing the lightning-fast response needed for today’s mobile gaming. The dual slide-out analog controls of the gaming handset feature tactile, responsive keys, for a tight and accurate gaming experience. The Caliber Advantage incorporates the accelerometer features of the iPhone while adding all of the benefits of a traditional gaming controller.

The iFrogz Caliber Advantage gaming handset will launch in the first half of 2013 for $69.99 at iFrogz.com and through select retail partners. Get more details in the full press release.

In related CES 2013 news: Belkin said this morning that it plans to display the latest iPad keyboard case additions of its award-winning lineup at a booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11.

The Belkin FastFit Keyboard is $79.99 and features well-spaced TruType keys, an integrated keyboard cover and screen protection, auto-awake magnets, two viewing Angles, 60 hours active battery life, 2,000 hours standby battery life, rechargeable using micro USB cable, and more. It is compatible with iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPads.

The Convertible Case for Apple Keyboard is $49.99 and sports a “slim, lightweight, and portable design.” Belkin also said it features a “comfortable viewing angle,” super-strength adhesive pads, aluminum smart clip snaps, and durable fabric construction in black, gray, or red colors.

The Belkin FastFit Case and Convertible Case will be available in January 2013 at Belkin.com and select retailers nationwide. More information is available in the full press release.

CES 2013 Stories January 7, 2013

Seagate shows off Wireless Plus, Central, and Backup Plus external storage at CES 2013

Seagate Technology is at CES 2013 and displaying its portfolio of storage solutions at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which includes the Wireless Plus, Central, and Backup Plus.

Seagate’s Wireless Plus offers mobile storage for smart devices without wires or the Web, and it can connect up to eight mobile devices to Wi-Fi network. It can also now hold up to 500 HD movies and deliver over 10 hours of continuous streaming. The Wireless Plus only comes in a 1TB capacity. More features include:

  • Wirelessly stream your media and files to tablets, smartphones, Mac® computers and PCs
  • Carry 500+ movies or thousands of songs, photos and documents
  • Free Seagate Media app for iPad®, iPhone®, Kindle Fire and Android® devices
  • Stream up to 3 different HD movies to three devices at the same time
  • Up to 10-hour battery life*

Seagate’s Central is “the first networked home storage solution to feature a Smart TV app for enjoyment of files from the big screen,” said the company in a press release. It offers automatic backup for the entire home, as well as local and remote access to movies, music, and photos from networked devices. The Central comes with an Ethernet cable, power supply, quick start guide, Seagate Central install CD, and a two-year limited warranty. More features include:

  • Automatically back up multiple PC and Mac® computers
  • Wirelessly stream your centralized media library to gaming consoles, media players and smart TVs
  • Access content on-the-go with a Web browser or the free app for tablets and smartphones
  • Enjoy a unique Samsung® Smart TV app featuring enhanced media navigation

Lastly, the Backup Plus, which first unveiled in June 2012, is the first drive to include the Seagate Dashboard. It allows one-click backup of a system and automatic backup of Facebook and Flickr albums. It is available in 500 GB, 750 GB, and 1TB capacities in black, red, silver, or blue product colors. More features include:

  • Protect your stuff with easy, flexible backups
  • Automatically save photos from your social networks
  • Share photos and videos to social networks with a click
  • Easily increase transfer speeds by upgrading to Thunderbolt™ technology or FireWire® 800

Pricing and availability for the above devices is not yet clear, but 9to5Mac is live at CES 2013 and hopes to get live demos of Seagate’s new offerings soon.

Get more details in the full press release below.

Eton-Solar-CES-2013

Eton, a company known for its hand-cranked, turbine-powered radios and audio accessories, today announced a few interesting new solar powered products for iOS devices. The new lineup includes the Rugged Rukus, and the Rukus XL (pictured above), two new solar-powered Bluetooth speakers, both of which include the ability to charge devices through a built-in USB port and more. For those familiar with Eton’s already available Rukus Solar speaker, the new models are essentially its bigger and smaller siblings, but definitely left us impressed at the CES Unveiled event… expand full story

Fitbit joins wearable fitness-tracking realm with Bluetooth 4.0-enabled $100 Flex Wristband

Fitbit, the makers of Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, One Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker, and the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, joined the wearable fitness tracker market this morning with its just-announced Flex Wristband.

“Flex is the first and only wristband on the market to sync with Bluetooth 4.0 – which means more flexibility when you’re on the go and want to check your stats,” explained Fitbit in a press release. “By combining its expertise in building high performance wireless connected devices with a flexible, comfortable wristband format, Fitbit plans to accelerate the category growth by becoming the first and only brand to offer a clip and wristband tracker option.”

The Flex is available for select iOS and Android devices, and it can track steps, distance travelled, calories burned, etc., with LED indicator lights providing immediate feedback on progress. The wristband even logs users’ sleeping habits. Ditching the traditional plug-in standard, Flex then uses Bluetooth 4.0 to sync the tracked data automatically to the Fitbit dashboard.

Fitbit Flex is $99.95 and available for pre-orders starting today and will ship in spring 2013. 9to5Mac is live at CES 2013, so we will attempt to bring a live demonstration of the Flex soon.

Check it out:

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

Get the full press release below for more details.

Lego teases updated Mindstorms EV3 with new Linux firmware, infrared, and iOS compatibility

Lego revealed this morning that it will launch an updated Mindstorms EV 3 kit later this year that runs new Linux firmware with out-of-the box iOS and Android compatibility.

“The entire Mindstorms system is powered by the new EV3 Intelligent Brick. Stronger and faster with more memory and a larger processor, the EV3 Intelligent Brick now un‐tethers robots from the computer by providing users expanded on‐brick programming and tighter integration with smart devices,” explained Lego in a press release.

Lego said a new infrared sensor will further allow builders more control over their robots, and the new Linux‐based firmware, a USB port, and SD expansion slot will offer “nearly unlimited programming and expansion capabilities.”

The refreshed EV 3 line will ship in the summer of 2013 with a suggested retail price of $349.99 USD.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

Get the full press release below for more details.

CES 2013 Stories January 6, 2013

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Straight from the CES Unveiled event in Las Vegas, audio accessory maker Ion just introduced us to one if its latest creations— a hardware DJ controller kit called “Scratch 2 Go” that puts a physical crossfader, two sets of three control knobs for pitch, EQ, etc., and a two small platters right on the display of your iPad. The company also announced updated versions of its other DJ and Guitar controllers for iPad and iPhone…

The hardware controls attach to your iPad’s display via suction cups and essentially work like a stylus, allowing you to control elements of several DJ apps on the App Store. The hardware controls are designed specifically for the iDJ 2GO app that will also work with Ion’s just announced updated Lightning version of its iDJ 2 Go hardware DJ controls. However, Ion confirmed to us that it would also work with the popular djay app for iPad.

It could also work with other iOS DJ apps provided the stylus-like tip of any particular element of the 5-piece kit lines up with the controls inside the app you’re using. Ion is making the new Scratch 2 Go kit available in April for $30 through select retailers.

A video of the kit in action from the CES show floor below:

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Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater 01

Belkin-Home-Theatre-CaseWe just looked at the latest range of audio accessories from Griffin, and now well-known accessory maker Belkin is showing off a new audio product for CES 2013: The Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater. Available starting this month on the Apple Store, the otherwise traditional-looking iPad case packs in front-facing ported speakers, thanks to a little help from Audifi, and doubles as a stand with various angles.

The case works as a dock, meaning Belkin will release two models to accommodate for both 30-pin and Lightning connectors. Belkin is also making a free companion app available that will allow users to customize sound profiles for different types of media. The Thunderstorm app isn’t available yet in the App Store, but it should début alongside the 30-pin version of the Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater case sometime this month. A lightning-compatible version of the dock will become available in the spring. Both models will sell for $199.99 from Amazon, the Apple Store, and additional retailers.

We’ll bring you full hands-on from the CES show floor shortly.

Update: We had a chance to listen to the product on a loud crowd floor. While the sound was definitely a significant improvement over the built-in iPad capability, it was a little tinny/thin and didn’t add as much base as we would have liked.  We’ll have more when we get some hands-on time later.

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LaCie’s CES 2013 lineup includes 5big 5-bay Thunderbolt and NAS Drives as well a ‘unique’ Philippe Starck designed portable

LaCie is throwing down two more 5big drive enclosures for CES this week. Starting at $1,199.00, the Thunderbolt version boasts up to 20TB capacity and transfer rates that extend to 785MB/sec. Meanwhile, the much less expensive Gig Ethernet NAS version is aimed at small business and starts at just $549. Both look like stellar products, and we’re hoping to get some hands-on time later this week at CES.

On the other end of the ‘useful’ spectrum lies LaCie’s new offering: a Philippe Starck ‘Blade Runner’ USB 3.0 4TB drive. The boat designer‘s enclosure looks like a giant hard drive heat sink, but I’m not sure if it is functional. Fewer than 10,000 of these $299 devices will be produced…thankfully.

Griffin CES 2013 audio products

The 9to5Mac crew just touched down in Las Vegas for CES and to kick things off we have a slew of new products from Griffin, many of which we plan to get our hands on next week during the show.

First off, it’s introducing a new lineup of audio accessories including an updated Lightning version of the Studio Connect interface for iPad it launched last year (full review here). The new version will be available May 2013 for $149.99. We also get Griffin’s new Mic Stand Mount. It is a $39.99 iPad stand that works like a traditional microphone performance stand. Lastly for audio products, Griffin is launching an XLR to 3.5mm mic to bring studio-quality recording to iPads Griffin-PowerDock5-CES-2013and iPhones (it’s available June 2013, but we hope to bring you a full review of the MicConnect soon).

Pictured to the right is another new accessory Griffin has at CES. The $99.99 charging cradle is known as the Power Dock 5. The dock accommodates iOS devices with cases and holds up to five full-sized iPads. It also launched the new WoodTones headphones made from responsibly harvested Beech, Sapele, and Walnut woods (pictured at top)

Griffin Crayola CES 2013

Griffin isn’t stopping there, as it is also launching a ton of new iOS accessories aimed at children including a partnership with Crayola to bring a digital stylus shaped like a thick Crayola marker ($29.99 with a free companion app this spring). Other kids’ products include the Crayola Color & Play Workstation. Griffin described it as an “all-in-one iPad workstation that includes a built-in carrying handle and three storage cubbies for their crayons, markers and digital coloring tools like ColorStudio HD and DigiTools.”

The company is also teaming up with Nickelodeon to bring SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer themed iOS accessories to market. Finally, it will show off its latest in the children’s KaZoo lineup with “new headphones, iPod touch cases, a charms lanyard kit and kid-friendly AUX cables themed after animals.” expand full story

CES 2013 Stories January 4, 2013

1977CES02 This is what CES looked like the last time Apple attended. J/K. Via the Verge

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show is almost here, with official CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opening up next week on Jan. 8. To kick things off, hundreds of companies and the press will invade Las Vegas this weekend for three days of pre-show product demos, press conferences, and more from the majority of the tech industry’s biggest names. Samsung, Sony, NVIDIA, Intel, Toshiba, and LG are just a few of the companies with scheduled announcements, but there will surely be more than a few surprises with over 3,000 exhibitors setting up shop. Apple’s last official appearance at CES was in 1992 with John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton, but its presence at the show remains with hundreds of new Apple-related products unveiled every year.

9to5Mac is on its way to Vegas to bring you full coverage of the best products from the show. But, until then, here’s a wrap-up of what we already know will be there and what else you can expect to see at CES 2013:

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CES 2013 Stories January 3, 2013

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Ahead of CES 2013 taking place in Las Vegas next week, the folks at Corning have unveiled Gorilla Glass 3. It is a new glass composition aimed at next-generation smartphones and tablets. The stronger Gorilla Glass 3 offers a new feature called “Native Damage Resistance” that brings 40 percent reduction in the number of scratches a device’s screen may take and a 50 percent boost in retained strength after the glass becomes flawed.

Cupertino-based Apple has incorporated Corning glass since the original iPhone, which accompanied an epic visit to the plant by Steve Jobs. Today, CEO Tim Cook likes to tout that Corning in Kentucky makes the glass on Apple’s iOS devices when the topic of U.S.-based manufacturing arises. Corning unveiled Gorilla Glass 2 at CES last year. While it is not mentioned by its brand name, it is undoubtedly the glass used in the iPhone 5. Presumably, Apple will repeat itself with Corning’s third-generation glass in the next-generation iPhone. At any rate, we’ll take a closer look at CES with our hands-on coverage. The full press release is found below: (via Engadget)

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iHome teases new Lightning-enabled docks ahead of CES 2013

Ahead of CES 2013 taking place in Las Vegas next week, popular dock/speaker manufacturer iHome has teased its first Lightning-enabled line. The iPhone 5, iPad mini, and fourth-generation iPad enabled speakers are set to be shown off in-depth at the company’s booth next week, something many speaker manufacturers will look to do to highlight their Lightning-enabled products. The first is the iDL100 Triple Charging Stereo that will ship for $149.99 and be able to charge two devices through Lightning docks, and it features a USB dock for other devices and a 3.5MM headphone jack. Secondly, iHome will unveil another one of its retro boomboxes for $199 (as seen below). The iBT44 features wireless capabilities with Airplay, which uses Bluetooth to stream audio, and it sports USB charging. You bet we’ll take a closer look at CES next week, as the iDL100 with its triple charging looks especially interesting.

Qualcomm CEO discusses relationship with Apple and attempt to make a smartphone Newton ahead of CES

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs went on “Charlie Rose” last night to discuss a range of topics, including Apple.

Jacobs notably told an anecdote (around 3:00) of when he tried to persuade Apple in the 1990s to put a Qualcomm radio in the Newton PDA, but his pitch failed. He also apparently took his Newton to Palm, with it taped to a Palm Pilot brochure, and pitched the idea of integrating Palm’s OS into a Qualcomm smartphone. Of course, that device eventually became the Qualcomm PDQ. As Venture Beat noted, the PDQ is quite possibly the world’s first smartphone with a mobile, app-centered OS and cellular connectivity.

Jacobs further called Apple an amazing marketing company and credited the iPhone as helping to expand the curve of mobile. He also admitted the success of Qualcomm is directly tied to Apple’s mobile endeavors in recent years (around 13:00): “We were putting Internet protocols into the phone in the early 90s, but it wasn’t really breaking through to the mainstream.”

Check it out:

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