With the BlackBerry PlayBook OS getting an update this week to version 2.1, one of the improved features is the ability to now use the native email client/messages application in portrait mode. It looks kind of weird at first but I suppose that is just because we are so used to only using it in landscape after over a year.

From a personal viewpoint I think it's a great update, mainly as it brings us one step closer to BlackBerry 10. It isn't the same experience as BB10 as we don't have the 'flow' and 'swype' between messages, it still relies on taping the screen, but we need to get used to using out touch screen devices in portrait mode. Typing within the email app is certainly easier this way. I struggle a bit using two thumbs to type in landscape mode so this will more than likely make me use the tablet a bit more for managing my emails.

All the same functionality tabs are still present when in a message - it is just that the email now takes up the whole screen, which is great use of the 7 inch PlayBook's real estate. Once in an email you also have the ability to jump quickly to the next message as we now have two arrows at the top right of the screen. Perfect for reading through all your mail if you prefer to see the full content and not just the basics.

The top bezel of the PlayBook still drops down an options tab. In portrait mode we loose a couple of the tabs but the comprise email, settings and help one still remain. Nice work RIM - I'm happy with new viewing option.

We will of course cover the other new features in the PlayBook tablet 2.1 update over the coming days so keep your eye peeled.

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