“These days, downloading software applications for a smartphone is a breeze. But good luck trying to share that fun game or handy work-productivity tool with someone else. Sure, a handful of apps feature ‘tell a friend’ buttons that let you alert others to an application you found useful, but if they want to check it out for themselves, they’ll have to download it or look over your shoulder,” Olga Kharif reports for BusinessWeek.

“A handful of upgrades from some of the biggest names in mobile software is set to upend the way smartphone users get and share apps. Apple’s new iPhone 3.0 software includes features that, if activated by Apple, may let users share software with one another, according to a person familiar with the technology,” Kharif reports. “Eventually, iPhone users may even get a commission when they’ve induced someone else to make a purchase, says Richard Doherty, director at consultant Envisioneering Group. Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock wouldn’t discuss features that might be available in the future, saying only, ‘We’ve made no announcements at this time.'”

“Separately, a group of software developers led by Google is also considering enabling user-to-user gifting and recommendations through its mobile applications store, Android Market, a person familiar with the plans tells BusinessWeek.com,” Kharif reports.

MacDailyNews Take:
Kahrif: Hello, Google, this is BusinessWeek’s Olga Kharif.
Google Android dude: Hey, how you doin’?

Kahrif: I have a source who’s told me that Apple’s considering enabling user-to-user gifting and recommendations through its App Store. Are you working on anything like that?
Google Android dude: Uhhh… Hold on a sec… Uhhh, yeah. We’re doing that, too. Uh, yeah, that’s the ticket! ‘Bye now, I have a lunch date with my wife… Morgan Fairchild!

Kharif continues, “User-to-user recommendations could make discovery of new apps and content easier. Most mobile app stores today offer top 10 lists of the most popular apps and let users post reviews. That aids navigating the more than 35,000 apps in the Apple App Store and nearly 5,000 in Google’s Android Market.”

“These new viral features will also come in handy amid the proliferation of so-called peer-to-peer applications, which let people transfer content directly from one phone to the next,” Kharif reports. “One example of P2P connectivity will be available in the new iPhone 3.0 software, due this summer. Users will be able to play multiplayer games with one another using Bluetooth connectivity, rather than needing to be on a carrier’s network. A player’s phone will automatically detect nearby iPhones and iPod touches that run the same app and send them an invitation to join the game. Initially, the feature will work only when both parties already have a particular app… In the future, a player may be able to invite another to a game when the second person does not yet own a particular app.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]