Google has now trademarked ‘Ara’, the moniker given to its modular Project Ara smartphone.
The search engine giant has officiated the name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, albeit without the ‘Project’ prefix.
It seems unlikely that Google would bother trademarking Ara if it wasn’t keen on sticking with the name.
It’s not a surprising move either – the build-a-phone concept is set to move into consumer reality early next year.
Project Ara is a modular smartphone, meaning Google supplies a barebones chassis, and customers buy parts to piece together the handset.
This means things like the camera, the RAM, or even more exotic additions like a heart rate sensor will all be hot-swappable.
Project Ara was originally built by a Motorola Mobility team while Motorola was a Google subsidiary. When Google flogged Motorola to Lenovo however, it decided to keep Project Ara on as its own.
Google recently revealed that it hoped to develop a modular marketplace for Ara, making it easy for OEMs to sell smartphone parts, and simple for customers to purchase them.
There’s currently a developer kit available for Ara, giving willing devs the chance to tinker with the modular hardware.
We’re expecting the base handset skeleton to retail at around $50, and should ship sometime within Q1 next year.
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