What to expect from the cutting edge of consumer electronics this season

HR-PHONESSmartphone that’s also a bank
You might not have heard of Xiaomi, but you will do soon. The Chinese manufacturer is already one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world thanks to sales in its home country, but it has aspirations to become a global brand, and not just a technology brand. To that end, alongside its Android gadgets and smart TVs, it’s just announced its own online money-market service in China, Xiaomi Huoqibao. Think of it as Paypal for the masses, letting anyone transfer money easily and earn interest on it. The service is meant for China only, but with other countries in need of services like this, as well as Xiaomi’s own global ambitions, it may not remain that way for long.

Nintendo’s next is the NX
Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has had a hard time recapturing the success of the Wii almost a decade ago. Its current home console, the Wii U, has struggled in comparison to Sony’s PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One even though the quality of its games remains its trademark high. To counter this, Nintendo have announced that they are working on a new system, codenamed NX. It’ll probably be years before it’s released, but already industry insiders are wondering what Nintendo will do to stand out this time. After motion-sensing controllers and glasses-free 3D screens, what’s next? Virtual reality? Nintendo first dabbled with full-immersion headset gaming back in the 1990s but the technology has improved exponentially since then.

Windows 10 available everywhere
Microsoft has released details of its next computer operating system, Windows 10. Not only will the software be a free upgrade for Windows users, it may also be the company’s last version of Windows, with future features only added in incremental updates. Windows 10 will also be coming to tablets and smartphones. In fact, with a feature Microsoft is calling Continuum, you’ll be able to plug your phone into a TV and use apps in a special full-screen mode.

Oculus Rift is coming to a shop near you
The device that brought virtual reality back into vogue, the Oculus Rift is set to go on sale early next year according to creator Oculus VR. Until now the Rift has only been available as a prototype for hobbyists and games developers, but the news means that casual gamers will be able to pick up the finished headset, pop it on and immediately start playing. Though a price and exact date have still to be confirmed, that means you’ll be able to play many of the latest blockbuster titles as though you were inside them, not just stuck on another side of a glass screen. Expect Sony, which has its own VR headset for the PS4, Project Morpheus, to follow suit with a launch date soon.