It's the second intriguing hire by Qualcomm in recent times. In March it appointed tech investor Laurie Yoler as senior veep of business development, making her responsible for, among other things, "developing new strategic business opportunities for Qualcomm in the region."
Best known for his work on Apple's iPod music player - and later in charge of all hardware technology, including Macs - Rubinstein left Apple in 2006.
In 2009 he replaced Ed Colligan as Palm CEO, and oversaw development of the WebOS operating system, before the company was acquired by Hewlett-Packard, then with Leo Apotheker at the helm.
H-P used WebOs as the operating system for its ill-fated TouchPad tablet, but the device was dropped after failing spectacularly in the marketplace. Rubinstein and Apotheker both left soon after.
Rubinstein is also a board member at Amazon.