Apple smart glasses may get beaten to the punch by this Chinese company

Oppo smart glasses
(Image credit: Oppo)
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We've been hearing rumors about Apple's AR glasses for some time, but it looks like they may not arrive until 2021 or even later. If you don't want to wait until then to get your hands on some smart specs you've got a few options, and Chinese tech brand Oppo just announced one of the most interesting-looking devices yet.

The company unveiled the glasses at Inno Day 2019, its annual tech conference in Shenzen in China, where it also showed off some new true wireless headphones, and teased the Oppo smartwatch.

The AR goggles are packed with high-tech optics and sensors. There are two fisheye lenses, as well as a time-of-flight (ToF) lens that's used for depth sensing, and a standard HD camera, and this quartet of cameras should be capable of delivering a range of AR experiences.

The glasses also come with 3D surround sound for a fully immersive audio-visual experiences, which could make them especially attractive for gaming.

(Image credit: Oppo)

Announcing the smart glasses, Oppo outlined three key applications for the glasses: AR 'content', 'game', and 'service'. While 'game' is fairly self-explanatory, we're not entirely sure what 'content' and 'service' refer to, or what the distinction between them is.

In a live demo, though, Oppo showed off various uses for the glasses. These included someone navigating and controlling a simulated solar system as part of an educational experience, and viewing a top-down map of the local area.

Oppo stated that the smart glasses will be out in 'Q1 2020', which could mean we'll see them at MWC 2020 in February.

Since we're only expecting to see Apple's AR glasses in 2021, or even 2023 according to one rumor, it seems that Oppo has really beaten Apple to the punch here, especially if the glasses have enough other applications, beyond those demoed, to make them worthwhile.

We'll know for sure in the coming months, so stay tuned to TechRadar for all the latest news on both Oppo's and Apple's smart glasses.

Tom Bedford
Deputy Editor - Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.