Ultrasonic payment service Zoosh bridges NFC gaps

zooshThere’s been a lot of buzz around near-field communication (NFC) revolutionizing the way we pay for things by turning your mobile phone into a mobile wallet or mobile payment device. The problem is that only a few phones, such as the Google Nexus S or Nokia’s Astound, have the specialized chip built in them. A company called Naratte has found a way around the problem by using ultrasound tones and your phones existing microphone and speaker to do the same thing as NFC but less exclusive.

Naratte’s Zoosh service is sort of like the way Shopkick works. Shopkick allows retailers to beam coupons onto customers’ phones at stores through inaudible sounds that get picked up by a cell phone’s microphone. Zoosh similarly uses the microphone and speaker to send and receive inaudible sound frequencies that contain data. Just like Shopkick, no data connection required, no GPS and no NFC.

Zoosh would deliver this data over a short range like the NFC and companies would have to buy a low-cost add-on with microphone and speaker for store’s POS PCs. However, for consumers it would be as easy as creating a simple app; and Zoosh is designed to also work with smartphones like Android or iPhone devices. Besides phone to POS payments, Zoosh will enable phone-to-phone payments and the ability to beam digital coupons to a POS system. Friends, relatives, drug dealers won’t have to worry about not having cash in their wallets anymore.

So far, the Sunnyvale, California based Narrate already has a partner in Sparkbase, a company that makes white label loyalty and stored value programs (a digital wallet service).

The CEO of Sparkbase Doug Hardman, said, “we see rising demand from both merchants and consumers for a robust loyalty platform that integrates both at the point of sale and the mobile device. Quite simply, we don’t have to wait for 2012 or beyond for mobile to terminal transactions. The technology is here, in people’s phones and on merchant’s terminals right now. We only have to activate it.”

Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Deals

These 30 Amazon Coupons can help you save on the things you need

Did you know there are thousands of Amazon Coupons and promo codes that you can take advantage of? We found coupons for everything from tech to everyday products. Find out what savings you've been missing out on.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.
Mobile

Google’s Gboard now uses A.I. to recommend GIFs based on your conversation

Google is bringing a new feature to Gboard that should make it better for those that regularly use GIFs and stickers. The feature essentially uses A.I. to recommend GIFs and stickers based on your conversation.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Wearables

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.
Mobile

Android will finally get a faster sharing menu, but it might take a while

The Android sharing menu has gotten a whole lot better over the years, but it's also gotten slower. Thankfully, however, it seems as though Google is working on a better, faster sharing menu but, unfortunately, it may take a while.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

Best Google Pixel 3 XL screen protectors

It's tough to find good screen protectors, but the 6.3-inch OLED screen in the Google Pixel 3 XL definitely demands to be protected from scratches and impact damage. We've picked out the best options and included insight into the downsides.
Mobile

Pocket Casts adds more cross-sync, curation, and Siri Shortcuts

Pocket Casts is a pocket staple for many podcast fanatics. But it's about to get even better with the introduction Pocket Casts 7.0 that adds intelligent curation, Siri Shortcuts support, and a streamlined UI.
Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.