There were a ton of great products launched in 2009 by big companies and startups alike, but in this post we focus on the best products released by startups.
The easiest way to become a leading product in your industry is to meet a need better than anyone else. The following 10 have proven themselves with great features, substantial marketplace momentum and, most importantly, a game-changing approach to solving a problem.
Real-Time Reference - Aardvark: Reinventing Q&A, ReadWriteWeb covered Aardvark's launch in March 2009. The service allows users to ask and answer questions through a network of friends via IM, iPhone application, Twitter, email or web interface. Because the system automatically routes questions to people with the right expertise, answers are fairly accurate and there is little need to use the service's flagging system. The company claims that 90% of questions get answered in five minutes or less.
Location-based Apps - Foursquare: Launched at SXSW, Foursquare is a location-based social application where users check in on their iPhone at various businesses and compete against their friend network for points. ReadWriteWeb first covered the company's launch in March. Since then it has partnered with Bay Area Rapid Transit and a number of businesses to offer location-based deals to users.
iPhone App Recommendation - Appsfire: In a world where iPhones seemed to saturate the earth, Appsfire offers a great way for users to share their favorites. Launched in August, ReadWriteWeb praised the convenience of the iPhone app. Four months after downloading it, many of our RWW teammates are still sharing their apps via the embeddable Appsfire widget and the iPhone application.
Real-Time Search - Collecta: If you're interested in finding out the latest info on a particular product, Collecta offers real-time search with a variety of results including blog posts, photos and Twitter and Identi.ca posts. ReadWriteWeb covered the company's release, which launched in June. In September the company released its API to developers.
Twitter App Discovery - OneForty: Dubbed the "unofficial Twitter app store," OneForty is a marketplace where Twitter developers add their applications for discovery. End-users can add their reviews and recommendation to be featured on the service's front page. Launched in September, Oneforty breaks down the applications into easy-to-understand categories and features the most popular apps and recently uploaded apps on the homepage.
All-You-Can-Eat Music - MOG All Access: Although MOG has been around as a blogging network for a few years, earlier this month the company launched its much-anticipated $5-per-month streaming music service. The product's unique features include a discovery bar slider where users can play streaming radio and tweak the flow of recommendations to their liking. Coupled with an iPhone app that is promised to encompass offline caching, MOG All Access is a great service rivaled only by close competitor Spotify.
Web TV - Clicker: Launched in mid November, Clicker is considered the TV Guide for Internet television. The company indexes 400,000 full episodes from 7,000 shows and features a DVR-like playlist (including Netflix Instant Streaming and Amazon VOD) and integration with Facebook connect. Clicker also has a Boxee app that pulls in metadata for shows, channels and actors.
Semantic Search - Evri: Evri is a semantic search engine with a matching algorithm that creates connections between people, products and concepts. Launched in mid-June, ReadWriteWeb first reported the product's ability to distinguish between subjects, verbs and objects to make connections.
Augmented Reality - Layar: ReadWriteWeb readers first got a glimpse of Layar in June. Created by SPRXmobile, the service places images and data on the mobile browser for a new form of location-based augmented reality discovery. In July, SPRX released the company's first developer keys for the API and by August it had celebrated an Android release with an iPhone app to follow. The company currently has a gallery with several cool 3rd-party applications.