Mitsubishi Electric Corp.'s new notebook computer is one example of how batteries control both the form factor and the performance of portable devices. With the goal of seeking a design 35% lighter and thinner than comparable units, Mitsubishi selected lithium-ion battery chemistry with a solid polymer electrolyte. The result is a 3.1-pound computer that is only 18 mm thick. The battery maker, Ultralife Batteries Inc., Montvale, N.J., says the cells can be fabricated in virtually any shape--even as thin as 1.0 mm. The battery specifications cite a high energy density plus the ability to be recharged more than 1,000 times. (The computer uses Intel Corp.'s 233 MHz Pentium MMX microprocessor).