The PC-9801 was a 16-bit personal computer announced by NEC in October 1982, and was the first generation machine in the PC-9800 Series. This machine was developed for business applications, and was equipped with a maximum 640 kilobyte main memory capacity, Japanese language processing and color graphics display capability.
Eight-bit personal computers, designed primarily for game and hobby applications, were not suitable for processing Japanese character codes requiring 16 bits. Against this background, the PC-9801 was a desktop 16-bit personal computer which achieved higher processing speed while inheriting both the hardware and software assets of the NEC 8-bit personal computers (typified by the PC-8001 and PC-8801). The CPU was a 5-megahertz 8086-compatible 16-bit microprocessor made by NEC -- µPD8086. The system was also equipped with graphic display controller--µPD7220, which was a graphic-processing LSI package developed by NEC.
After its announcement, the PC-9801 was widely accepted, primarily in the business market, and it contributed greatly to the formation of a personal computer industry, involving software manufacturers, board manufacturers, publishing companies, software distributors, retailers and systems vendors.
The PC-9800 Series started as a desktop mode, but later, NEC continued to enhance functionality and fill-out the product lineup, and the series branched into laptop and notebook models.
In October 1986 NEC marketed the PC-98LT-- a version of the PC-9800 with trimmed down features -- as Japan's first laptop personal computer. Later, NEC announced the PC98XL2 (Japan's first 32-bit desktop computer) in September 1987, and the PC-9801 notebook (commonly called the "98NOTE") in October 1989.