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Qualcomm is going to war against the iPhone, and its best weapon is a 20-year-old PDA

Published Dec 4th, 2017 10:04PM EST
Qualcomm vs. iPhone X
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Many iPhone and Android users have no idea what a Palm Pre is, but they’ll soon learn more about that particular family of iPhone “killers” thanks to Qualcomm. Smartphone users who witnessed the mobile revolution the iPhone started will remember Palm OS devices, which at one point were regarded as excellent iPhone alternatives. And if they already purchased an iPhone X, then they already know there’s plenty of Palm Pre-like gestures in the new iPhone.

Qualcomm, however, will have none of that. As the owner of Palm’s intellectual property, Qualcomm wants to hold Apple accountable.

The two companies are fighting a complicated war about royalties related to modems used in iPhones, which may have repercussions on the entire mobile industry. Just a few days ago, Apple filed a new suit against Qualcomm that alleges several Snapdragon flagship processors infringe technology patented by the iPhone maker.

Qualcomm returned fire with countersuits of its own that target all of Apple’s recent devices, including iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 7. The chipmaker even went as far as to ask the ITC to ban Apple’s newest iPhones, saying they violate various Qualcomm patents.

Qualcomm says Apple copied elements of Palm OS, first introduced in 1996, as well. “All of these Palm inventions – owned by Qualcomm – have vastly improved the functionality of mobile devices and the user experience, and all of them are widely found in Apple products without license or permission,” Qualcomm said in its filing seen by IT Pro.

Like I said before, Palm users will quickly recognize what Apple feature copied. There’s no denying there’s a clear resemblance between the iPhone X’s new UI and gestures, and the Palm phones. The following video brilliantly shows a Palm Pre hands-on demo based on Apple’s iPhone X presentation:

Everybody copies everybody in the mobile business, especially when it comes to OS features, some people will say, and that’s accurate. It’ll be interesting to see, however, whether the defunct Palm OS will hurt Apple’s ability to sell iPhones in the US.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.