CWmike writes "While near-field communication gradually emerges to turn mobile phones into payment devices, startup Naratte is introducing a system it claims can do roughly the same thing without adding a chip to the handset. On Monday, Naratte introduced Zoosh, a technology that lets phones exchange transaction information via inaudible sound waves. As with NFC, the phone user would just put the phone near to a point-of-sale terminal to redeem a coupon or make a purchase. NFC provides short-range radio communication between phones and point-of-sale devices so users can just tap or point their phones at the device to make a purchase. NFC uses specialized chips, which are already built into a few phones such as the Google Nexus S sold by Sprint Nextel, and are expected in more handsets in the future. Zoosh involves software that utilizes the speaker and microphone in a handset to send and receive audio signals with another device, similar to the way early modems exchange data by sending tones through the handsets of desk phones cradled in coupler devices. The company has posted a video that shows how it works. Between this and barcodes (which Starbucks says is working well already, thank you very much), is NFC already irrelevant?"