“Google Inc. plans to hire dozens of software developers to create applications for smartphones and other mobile devices, people familiar with the matter said, a new strategy aimed partly at helping Google counter Apple Inc. in one of high tech’s hottest sectors,” Amir Efrati reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The Internet company has begun recruiting software engineers, product managers, user-interface experts and others who have ideas for mobile apps, the people said,” Efrati reports. “Some current Google employees have changed jobs to work on the effort, they added.”

Efrati reports, “The Google software is still playing catch-up when it comes to apps. Android users can access an online market with more than 100,000 applications available for download, but Apple’s app store has more than 350,000 apps… Apps developed by Google’s new lab are expected to be free and might have ads that would generate revenue, the people familiar with the matter said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Independent developers want users who have proven they will pay for quality software. Those would be iOS users. Android settlers, on the other hand, are notorious cheapskates. Throw in fragmentation, the loss of a captive Verizon audience and a far less vibrant third-party accessory ecosystem and it’s plain that things are only going to get worse for Google.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Tom W.” and “Janine H.” for the heads up.]