Barack Obama has been allowed to keep hold of his BlackBerry for personal use.

This means Obama will become the first president to have access to email in the White House, with neither Bush nor Clinton using the digital format during their terms.

There had been security concerns about Obama's use of the RIM-made device not offering Pentagon-approved levels of security.

"The president has a BlackBerry through a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends in a way that use will be limited", said a White House spokesperson.

"The security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate, to do so effectively and to do so in a way that is protected".