NEC announced the PC-9801NC (commonly known as the 98 NOTE Color) in October 1991. The PC-9801NC was the first commercial notebook computer to feature a thin-film-transistor (TFT) color LCD screen. Positioned as the flagship of NEC’s notebook computer line, the PC-9801NC was distinguished by the following innovations.

  • (1) The TFT color LCD screen enabled the PC-9801NC to have the portability of a notebook while retaining the color-display vibrancy of a CRT monitor. Capable of displaying 16 colors from a 4096-color palette, the notebook could display even neutral and intermediate colors vividly.
  • (2) The 32-bit 386SX microprocessor with a clock speed of 20 MHz gave the PC-9801NC high-speed processing power.
  • (3) Television and video could be viewed with the optional TV-tuner/video adaptor.
  • (4) The notebook was standard equipped with 2.6 MB of user memory. Using the RAM drive as extended memory brought the total memory to 3.6 MB, which meant the notebook could run sophisticated software such as the Japanese version of MS-Windows (Ver. 3.0/Ver. 3.0A) without adding extra memory.
  • (5) Thanks to the slim TFT color LCD screen and the industry’s most compact 3.5-inch floppy drive assembly, the PC-9801NC was the size of an A4 file (316 x 254 x 56 mm (w x d x h)) and weighed only 3.2 kg, despite its color display and fast processing speeds.
  • (6) The PC-9801NC came with the optional Authorware Star, a software tool for developing and executing multimedia applications that would run on the Japanese version of MS-Windows (Ver. 3.0/Ver. 3.0A).