Magic Cap was originally designed as an easy-to-use operating system and visual desktop environment for handheld computers. Due to the chronically slow development of the consumer market for handhelds, General Magic is now trying its hand in the world of Windows 95.
With today's release, the company hopes to lure beginning PC users in homes and small businesses to Magic Cap's intuitive interface for sending faxes and email, paging, and access to the Internet.
Compared to Windows 95 and the Mac OS, Magic Cap uses a more literal version of the desktop as its visual metaphor. For example, if users wants to check an address, they click on the Rolodex. If they want to send a fax, they click on the fax machine.
The communications software is built around a single message form. Once a message is written, it can be sent as a fax, email, or page with the appropriate "stamp." Stamps can also be used to assign message priority, add file attachments, or embed clip art or animations. The message recipient must also have Magic Cap for Windows if they are to see the art and animation effects.
Magic Cap also comes bundled with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, although it works with other browsers as well. The Magic Cap organizer can import data from other organizers such Now Up-to-Date, Ecco, and Schedule+, although incoming messages must be stored in the Magic Cap format.
Magic Cap for Windows 95 can be purchased from software retailers for an estimated street price of $49. A free 30-day trial version is available for downloading from the General Magic Web site.