Obama, who has been reluctant to relinquish the device when he becomes president, dropped his BlackBerry and its hard plastic case onto an airport tarmac as he emerged from his fortified vehicle.
A Secret Service agent hustled to pick it up.
Secret Service officials are among those urging Obama to give up his BlackBerry habit, because it causes security worries. Lawyers think it also poses difficulties in keeping public records.
The BlackBerry is Obama's constant companion and link to the outside world.
Told about the fumble, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs quipped: "That may have solved his BlackBerry dilemma, right? Forget the lawyers!"
No word yet on whether the BlackBerry still works.