New US president Barack Obama has been allowed to keep his BlackBerry smartphone - and so is the first US president to have access to email in the White House.

The BBC reports that presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said a "compromise" allows the president to stay in touch with senior staff and personal friends - despite security fears.

Obama has repeatedly said he is reluctant to part with the device, which as been dubbed the CrackBerry because of its addictiveness.

Barack Obama BlackBerry

"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 Mr Gibbs.

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

After winning the election Obama said that if officials wanted him to give it up they would have to "pry it out of my hands".

"It's just one tool among a number of tools that I'm trying to use, to break out of the bubble, to make sure that people can still reach me," Obama told CNN.

"Now, my working assumption, and this is not new, is that everything I write on email could end up being on CNN. So I make sure that — to think before I press ‘send’,” he told CNN host Larry King.

"If I'm doing something stupid, somebody in Chicago can send me an email and say, 'What are you doing?'"

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