This year, Huawei surpassed Apple to be the world’s second biggest smartphone vendor. Now it reportedly wants to compete with Apple in a brand new area: AR glasses.

Huawei is developing AR glasses that may come in 2019 or 2020, CNBC reported, quoting Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group.

AR wearables aim to layer digital information on top of your view of the real world -- a product that some of the world’s biggest tech companies see as the next frontier. Facebook confirmed in September that they’re working on it. Apple is also reportedly making its own, with CEO Tim Cook saying that “AR is going to change everything.”

But based on the products we’ve seen so far, truly consumer AR glasses may be still far away. Many say the long-awaited Magic Leap does not live up to the pre-launch hype -- something we felt when we tried it. Far from a seamless blending of the real world and the virtual world, objects generated by Magic Leap’s headset were glaringly bright. And it didn’t react very well when someone stood in “front” of a virtual object.

What you're supposed to see through a Magic Leap headset -- but the virtual objects aren't as solid as this image suggests. (Picture: Magic Leap)

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s HoloLens costs a whopping US$3,000 and is still only for enterprise customers and developers. Intel, which showed off an impressive pair of AR glasses that actually look like something you’d wear in daily life, gave up on their product -- casting doubt on how feasible it really was.

Consumers know Huawei for its smartphones, but the company actually already has a division dedicated to AR and VR. It has released two VR headsets so far: Huawei VR and… Huawei VR2. (Snappy names, I know.) The VR2 received some good reviews, although neither of the headsets seem to be very popular.

But the smartphone vendor sounds serious about bringing AR to consumers: Richard Yu said to CNBC that they’ll put more AR experiences into smartphones first so that users can get used to them, and claim that they will then “take the experience to the next level.”