The Product Hunt Team’s Favorite Launches of 2016

Okay, so 2016 wasn’t the best year ever. Still, at Product Hunt, we saw the launch of thousands of amazing products. Every day last year, multiple innovative, useful, and inspiring products came into the world. It serves as a reminder that there is always progress to be made and something new to create. Here are some of the Product Hunt Team’s favorite launches from last year—and we can’t wait to see what comes to life in 2017.

Ben Tossell, Community

Design Inc. helps you find the absolute best creatives to help you with your latest project. Whether you’re working on your logo, website design, mobile app, or your Shopify homepage, you can find just the talent you’re looking for on this site. Submit your project, get free custom proposals, and choose your favorite.

I loved the Design Inc. site and the team’s process. Have been following the founder, Marc Hemeon, since and I saw a re-vamp of the site. I think what they are offering and how they’re executing is awesome. — Ben

AirWander is a great way to explore more of the world if you have a little bit of extra time during your upcoming trips this year. The site predicts the cost of adding multi-day stopovers, and then checks all possible flight combinations to show you the cheapest options. They are also known for surfacing ridiculously good world-tour flight deals.

This is just cool AF. I always think about stopping somewhere else when traveling to SF on a long-haul flight. This way of searching for flights lets you find places for a few-day stopover during your trip— sometimes for less than direct flights would’ve been! — Ben

HYPER for iPhone is a great way to find the best video content on the web. This app scours the web daily for high-quality videos, and they hand-pick a daily “Top 10” for you based on your interests. The videos are automatically available offline, so you can play them even when you aren’t connected to the internet.

This is one of the few apps that I’ve seen launch and then subsequently ended up on my home screen. I have seen these guys change their angle a few times (I was an early Beta user) and I love what they have currently. The choose the best videos on the internet daily, one video per hour. Simple. — Ben

Andrew Ettinger, Community

If FaceTime was built like a social network, Houseparty would be it. This is Meerkat founder Ben Rubin’s latest experiment, which is built to make it easier and more lightweight for us to see our friends everyday without the typical formalities. Just open the app and you’re with your friends immediately. You never know who you’ll see at the “party,” which makes it even more fun to use. The more people you know, the more fun it gets…just like a real house party.

I find that my friends prefer to FaceTime as opposed to phone call. This is the first app since Snapchat that has truly gone viral amongst my peers (#SnakePeople). — Andrew

Snapchat’s Spectacles were all the rage in 2016. Wear these embedded mini cameras like regular sunglasses, press a button to take a 10-second snap, and wirelessly add your snaps to Memories. It helps that the glasses actually look cool, and they charge in their case.

Snapchat found a way to make petting my dog seem cool. That’s worth something. Here’s me fishing the day I got them. — Andrew

Rocket allows you to use Slack-style emojis anywhere and everywhere on your Mac. Party Parrot, here we come!

I prefer to text/iMessage from my computer, and using Rocket for Slack-style emojis (:emoji:) makes it much easier. Also, learning the names is pretty fun. — Andrew

Jacq von Tesmar, Community

As I go though my days, I’m always looking for a great photo opportunity. These three products from 2016 help me to snag all of those perfect moments. — Jacq

The Impossible I-1 Instant Camera is perfect for anyone who is feeling nostalgic for physical photos (raises hand). It’s an actual point-and-shoot camera that connects to your phone, allowing you to play with different features, adjust manual controls, and use a remote timer (goodbye, selfie stick!). You can even superimpose images on top of one another.

Podo Camera is a wireless camera you can stick on any surface. The updated version (the original came to life via Kickstarter) has sensors that are 50% bigger than those in the iPhone 6s, dual-mode Bluetooth connectivity so it’s paired with your phone, and multi-Podo conectivity—just imagine what you could do using several different Podo cameras at once.

My goodness, the Polaroid Swing is so cool. Now you can create moving photos with the tap of a button on your phone. We love how Polaroid is becoming more and more of a software company, and introducing cool new technologies like this to help us capture our most precious memories.

Korbin Hoffman, Engineering

With Product Hunt Cards, you can embed products and comments anywhere on the web. All you have to do is click the button in the top right of the product page, and copy/paste the code into your site. In addition to product pages, Cards also supports video and comment embedding.

I’m dogfooding a bit here, but this is one of my favorite launches of the year. We built Cards to allow products on Product Hunt to be featured with high-quality presentation on other sites. It was a fun, no-issue launch. — Korbin

Well, Google Pixel is sure to give the iPhone a run for its money. This phone charges fast; you can get up to 7 hours of battery life in 15 minutes. The smartphone camera is also the highest rated of all time. You can also say goodbye to those “Storage is Full” notifications because with Pixel, you get unlimited photo and video storage. There are about a bazillion other cool features, so check them out today.

Having owned the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 6, I believe this is the first phone that Google has launched that is turn-key and user-friendly. I only wish it were waterproof! — Korbin

Ahhh. The Tesla Model 3 is as beautiful as we all hoped. This premium sedan is Tesla’s most affordable car yet, starting at $35,000. It’ll get you about 215 miles with every charge, and it was designed specifically to attain the highest possible safety rating in every category. Production doesn’t even begin until mid-2017, and if you reserve your spot now, you won’t get yours until mid-2018 or later. But, shoot, we think it’s worth the wait.

What can I say? I believe self-driving cars will be the future, and it will take a sub-$40k car to really make things mainstream. Once these start shipping, I expect to see a huge shift in road safety and transportation options. — Korbin

Corley Hughes, COO

If there’s any one app that took the world by storm in 2016, it had to have been Pokemon Go. This augmented reality game was the first of its kind, and ended up doing so much more culturally speaking than merely keeping users entertained. It brought the imaginary to life, and helped people build community in the process. We’ll take more of that in 2017, please.

Pokemon Go demonstrated VR that doesn’t require a huge, unattractive contraption to bring it to life. — Corley

Octobrella is an industrial strength umbrella that will tackle whatever the world throws at you. No, really. It can sustain 70+ mph winds, hailstorms, and even high aerodynamic loads. One of the coolest parts about this is the nature of the partnership between GE and Greig Brebner, the founder of Blunt who wanted to bring bring weather-proof umbrellas to the world. They decided to work together as a symbol of GE’s overarching mission: build solutions to whatever the world calls for. Innovation at its best.

This is the first time working with a partner in this way, and the umbrella is great. It really withstands wind. — Corley

Mike Coutermarsh, Engineering

If you’re a copy-paste fanatic, you’ll love Paste 2. This smart clipboard allows you to keep everything you copy and store the most important snippets in a well-organized way. You can create different lists and pin your favorites in any order you’d like. You can also use default shortcuts or make your own so that you can stay as productive as possible throughout the day. We highly recommend this one.

Paste 2 is the best clipboard manager I’ve tried (and I’ve tried them all). It let’s you quickly search through copy/paste history, and has great UI. I use it everyday. Great for hanging on to little code snippets. — Mike

There are so many different email apps out there, but Shift is one of the best from 2016. It was built for people who rely on multiple Gmail accounts and applications (e.g. Google Drive and Google Calendar). If you’re tired of toggling between your various accounts, this is the solution you’ve been waiting for. Now you can easily switch between multiple accounts and applications within the Google ecosystem.

Shift solves the problem of having too many Gmail accounts. It even works with Inbox. You connect your accounts, and then you can quickly scan through each of them. This makes checking email less of a chore. — Mike

Seth Williams, Design

When Instagram Stories first launched, a lot of people thought, “How is this any different from Snapchat?” Even though the functionality might be quite similar, people are using it. It was a great reminder that a similar product placed in a new setting could be used by an entirely different audience for entirely different reasons.

I love what Instagram is doing. With Instagram Stories, I now don’t feel the pressure of posting the “perfect” photo, and can post more frequent photos/videos on a more intimate and casual level. — Seth

If you’re a fan of the ready-to-drink Soylent meal (said to provide 20% of the average person’s daily nutritional requirements), then you’ll love Coffiest by Soylent. Each bottle comes packed with 400 calories of plant-based nutrition and a comparable amount of caffeine as a strong cup of coffee.

This stuff is insanely delicious! Not only do I love the drink, but I also love their branding—it’s beautiful. That simple black and white bottle. Phew! :fire: — Seth

The Purpose Hotel is a great example of what can happen when you take something people need and fuse it with a social mission. Everything inside of this proposed hotel has a purpose—from the coffee and artwork, to the sheets and the soap. Originally, this launched as a Kickstarter campaign with an ambitious goal of $2,000,000. The campaign wasn’t successful, but they did re-launch it with a lower goal and raised $680,000. The hotel isn’t built yet, but the idea hasn’t died. For updates, keep tabs on their latest Kickstarter page here.

This hotel is truly changing the game. Everything in it is benefiting people around the world. By staying the night, you are becoming part of a larger movement and supporting hundreds of lives. Such a beautiful and powerful idea. — Seth

Emily Hodgins, Community

Ava is an app that helps deaf people converse. This app was built to help 400 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people understand and participate in group conversations. Whether you’re at lunch, a business meeting, or just hanging out with friends, Ava makes 24/7 accessibility to conversations possible. It connects the smartphones of a group of people who download the app, and turns them into a smart microphone system. Using speech recognition and special speaker identification magic ✨, the app can show you who says what in less than a second. We’re so excited to see how this product impacts millions of people in years to come.

This is an awesome product using technology to provide a service with a social purpose. In terms of their launch, their video is a perfect example of how to visually get across your app concept in under 2 minutes. It perfectly demonstrates the app, the need, and how to use in a short and powerful video clip. — Emily

Pea is an iOS app that helps men figure out why premature ejaculation happens and how to fix it using video content and interactive training tools. The founder struggled with this problem himself, and started to seek out advice from doctors, authors, and sex therapists. This app is meant to help solve some of the major pain points men encounter while re-training their sexual response. We think bold and honest apps like this are super important, and wouldn’t be surprised to see more taboo-breaking products hit the market in 2017.

A pretty brave move by the creator, Brennen Belich, to create an app that tackles a social taboo that he himself suffers with. I admire his boldness for creating the app and offering himself up as the user demographic. I also loved the response from the wider community to the launch. Resect and admiration from all. A great launch and a product that others can benefit from, while tackling social stigma at the same time. — Emily

Ryan Hoover, Founder

Google Home is Google’s take on Amazon’s Alexa. You can command it to play music, radio, or podcasts from multiple different services like Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora. You can also ask basically any question about sports, weather, traffic, finance, and more—Google’s rich search history is sure to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. As it gets to know you, it’ll do things like set alarms for you, remind you about events on your calendar, call a car service, pull up flight information, and keep a running shopping list. This has the potential to seriously change your life for the better—give it a try!

Voice-based interfaces is a growing trend, a new platform for makers. For the past few months, I’ve enjoyed my Google Home device and already it’s changed some of my behaviors—particularly how I listen to music. Instead of slapping my keyboard on Spotify, I simply yell, “OK, Google. Play Justin Bieber.” :grimacing: — Ryan

Candid Catmera is awesome. The app lures your cat to your iPhone or iPad using animations like fish, mice, and cat food treats. Once the cat comes to your device, it’ll snap a “selfie” so you can see what your pet is doing even when you’re not around. It’s kind of a funny app, and the idea makes us smile. Bonus: For every app download, $1 is donated to the SPCA. That’s something to meow home about!

Okay, this may not be the best or most innovative app of 2016, but I love it. It’s a must-download for any cat owner. — Ryan

What was your favorite product launch in 2016? And what do you most hope gets created in 2017?

Let us know in the comments!