General Magic: The tech doccie trailer you didn’t know you needed, about a company you’ve never heard of


It is written by the late, great Terry Pratchett in The Way of Mrs. Cosmopilite, there’s a lot that goes on that we don’t know about. Hey, it works for Lu-Tze. But there’s also a bit of truth there for the rest of us, as this trailer for General Magic shows.

And don’t feel bad if the words ‘General Magic’ don’t immediately throw up a memory of a Silicon Valley company circa 1990 to 1994 (it closed down in 2002). The company, which played host to some of the more influential names in tech (including Andy Rubin and Android and Essential Phone fame), attempted the truly ambitious: creating what could have been the modern-day smartphone, about 15 years before we actually saw the first one. Obviously, though, that didn’t happen. Or rather, it never took off.

General Magic is also the title of the documentary made about this little-known company’s efforts. They had their sights set on a “personal intelligent communicator”, the technology for which mirrors quite closely what the smartphone is now capable of.

Only… they never much of a response from it when the device was launched in 1994 — way ahead of the 2007 appearance of the iPhone. There were other roadblocks as well. The documentary explains what happened to the company and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. It’s also slated for a Silicon Valley screening this month, with some 150 or so former General Magic employees in attendance.

For a closer look at a company you’ve never heard of and the device nobody bought, which nonetheless pushed us closer to the current state of mobile technology, hit up the trailer above. Whether the film will see a broader release isn’t certain yet but this is the modern world (which General Magic may have helped usher in) — we’re sure you’ll be able to stream the film somewhere soon. We’ll keep you posted.

Source: via FastCompany


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