Looks like Google's Project Ara will actually be called...

Google Ara
It's like smartphone Tetris

Google has trademarked the Ara name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office which means it is likely that 'Project Ara' won't just be the codename of Google's exciting modular smartphone, but will in fact be its final name with the 'Project' prefix dropped.

Google's trademarking of Ara means that we might not have too long to wait to see its ambitious new smartphone either. We've heard a number of rumours that point to an early 2015 release and Google's latest move suggests that this is still on track.

Project Ara is a modular handset that lets you build your own smartphone by connecting together modules such as cameras and screens to create your very own custom device.

Project Ara: What we know

In the run up to the launch we've learned a number of things about Project Ara that have got us pretty excited.

The base Ara kit is rumoured to launch at a very low price, and you'll be able to buy additional modules through a brand new online store that Google is basing on its successful Play Store.

You'll also be able to swap and upgrade most modules without even needing to turn the handset off, so if you're not happy with your current camera, you should be able to quickly whip it out and replace it with a more capable snapper.

This is achieved with Ara running a customised version of Google's latest mobile operating system, Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Now that it looks likely that the handset will be officially called Ara, that's one less mystery to tick off. The biggest question mark remains how well Google's ambitious project works, and it looks like we'll only have to wait until early next year to find out.

Via Phonearena

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.