This paper provides perspectives on recent progress in understanding the physics of devices in which the external magnetic field is applied perpendicular to the discharge current. This configuration generates a strong electric field that acts to accelerate ions. The many applications of this set up include generation of thrust for spacecraft propulsion and separation of species in plasma mass separation devices. These E x B plasmas are subject to plasma–wall interaction effects and to various micro- and macroinstabilities. In many devices we also observe the emergence of anomalous transport. This perspective presents the current understanding of the physics of these phenomena and state-of-the-art computational results, identifies critical questions, and suggests directions for future research.