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The 11 best tech products of 2015
Written by Malek

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Since it launched in 2013, Product Hunt has become the go-to place to find the next big app, gadget, or service.

Here's how it works.

A new tech product gets added, and then people vote on whether they like it or not. In this way, the site functions a bit like Reddit, though there is a heavy element of curation by Product Hunt's team, which decides what gets featured on various pages.

This year, Product Hunt decided to hold its first annual awards for the coolest things to come out in the year, named "The Golden Kitty Awards." Starting December 9, Product Hunt invited its users to nominate and vote for the best products in a variety of categories, from best maker to most WTF product.

Now the voting has closed. To find the best of the best, we took a look at the "Tech Products of the Year" category. Here are the 11 tech products that rose to the top:

 

No. 11: Meerkat

Meerkat is a live-streaming app that was responsible for sparking a renewed interest in live video broadcasting when it launched in February, and it managed to attract 160,000 users in its first month.

But after Twitter acquired Meerkat competitor Periscope and shut off Meerkat's ability to tap into Twitter's social features, it quickly became clear that Periscope represented a very real threat — especially when Periscope managed to top 1 million users in its first 10 days.

Since then, Meerkat has tried to innovate by releasing features like “Cameo,” which lets you (consensually) hijack someone else’s Meerkat stream for up to 60 seconds.

Price: Free (iOSAndroid)

No. 10: Facebook M

No. 10: Facebook M
Facebook

Facebook M is a virtual assistant feature that performs tasks on your behalf, such as delivering gifts to your loved ones and making restaurant reservations, the company announced on Wednesday.

M is powered by artificial intelligence technology, but "trained and supervised" by people. It's basically your virtual butler.

M is available in Facebook's Messenger app, but is currently in a testing phase, available to a few select people.

Price: Free if you can get it

No. 9: Lily Drone Camera

Lily is a drone that follows you around and captures video. It's rugged, portable, and waterproof. It's meant for taking videos of yourself doing things like kayaking down a choppy river, or snowboarding down a mountain.

Lily gets 1080p footage at 60 frames-per-second (fps), or it can capture 720p slow-motion video at 120 fps. It's flight speed is limited by software to 25 mph.

Most camera drones have pretty short flying times due to limited batteries, and the Lily is no different with its 20 minute battery life. It's also notable that the batteries aren't replaceable in order to keep it waterproof.

Price: $819

No. 8: Overcast 2.0

No. 8: Overcast 2.0
App Annie

Overcast was already the best app for listening to podcasts before this year, but a big update in 2015 made it free for everyone. This means free users can now get access to "smart speed" — which takes away pauses to speed up the podcast — voice boost, and downloading on the cellular network. There's every reason to have Overcast replace the native podcast app on iOS.

Price: Free (iOS)

No. 7: Apple Watch

No. 7: Apple Watch
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Apple Watch has become the gold standard in smartwatches, but it costs top dollar. It has a good-looking form factor and is great at small use cases: checking a text, an email, or a tweet.

Apple Sport Price: $349-$399

Apple Watch Price$549-$599

Apple Edition Price: $10,000-$17,000

No. 6: Startup Stash

Creating your own startup can be overwhelming at times, but luckily a directory called Startup Stash contains everything you need to know, all in one place.

The first thing you'll notice about Startup Stash is the simple grid layout that makes finding resources and tools exceedingly easy and manageable. The grid contains 40 categories that cover everything from early-stage idea generation, market research, and domain names all the way to later-stage resources such as raising capital, investor relations, and customer support.

"I thought it would be fun to build a simple and useful site that can help you find resources and tools while building your startup," founder Bram Kanstein wrote over at Product Hunt. "Hopefully Startup Stash will become the first thing you look at when you need a certain tool, just like an oldskool [sic] startpage!"

Price: Free

No. 5: Be My Eyes

No. 5: Be My Eyes
iTunes

What if you could use your smartphone to see for a blind person? That's the idea behind Be My Eyes, an app that connects the blind with someone who can see.

By establishing a video stream between the two, people with a few spare minutes can inspect what the blind person is looking at and describe it to them while answering any questions.

Be My Eyes is a great example of how technology can make it easier for people to help each other out. The app is designed to encourage people to volunteer without guilting people into action.

Price: Free (iOS)

No. 4: Periscope

Periscope is all about making live video broadcasts mainstream. Twitter bought the app and its small team in February before it even launched. 

If you’ve never used Periscope before, here’s how it works: download the app to your phone, log in, and start a live video stream with your phone’s camera. Your friends on Periscope and Twitter will be notified to tune in, and viewers can interact with broadcasts by commenting and leaving virtual hearts.

Price: Free (iOS, Android)

No. 3: Tesla Powerwall

No. 3: Tesla Powerwall
Screenshot via Tesla

The Powerwall is Tesla's home battery, intended to store solar energy and let customers store electricity from nonpeak periods and use during peak times. It's wall-mounted, and comes in different colors.

"The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation," Tesla said.

Price: $3,000

No. 2: Raspberry Pi Zero

No. 2: Raspberry Pi Zero
Raspberry Pi

In November, budget-computer company Raspberry Pi launched a crazily cheap and small new computer called the Raspberry Pi Zero. It costs only $5.

It boasts some pretty impressive specs, despite its price point. It comes with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and can output to a 1080p screen using HDMI at 60 frames a second. To put those figures into context, the iPhone 4 — which launched in 2010 — also had 512MB of RAM, and only had an 800MHz processor.

The first Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012, and the company's mission is to produce low-cost devices to introduce people to the world of computer science. Nominally aimed at kids, the budget computers have become beloved by hobbyists.

Price: $5

No. 1: Slash Keyboard

No. 1: Slash Keyboard
Slash

Slash is the best iPhone keyboard out today, and its killer feature is taking the pain out of jumping between your apps. Slash’s innovation comes in the form of a blue forward slash that sits at the bottom of your keyboard (within whatever app you happen to be in). That slash is a magic button that can instantly give you access to a slew of app-based search engines baked into the keyboard itself, making it easy to share things you find on YouTube, Giphy, and Spotify.

Price: Free (iOS)