In April 2008, I referred to the presentation event of the Tenori-On sample player from Yamaha in an entry in my blog.
The (or that?) Tenori-On is an innovative player for built-in (static) samples and a few that you can load yourself, well, to be honest, for example, only two if you need them in several pitches, as the device cannot change them. Interesting is the control via the 265 white lights, which light up from the front as well as from the back of the device and function as buttons. The Tenori-On has mainly percussive sounds, which imposes a certain style that is difficult to break out of. Comparable devices on the market, although very different in detail, are the Monome two fifty six for around 1400 USD, which is difficult to obtain as it is only produced in small numbers, and the Lemur (or Dexter) from Jazz Mutant for 1500 – 2000 EUR. The latter is probably the best device, but haptically very different as it only has a touchscreen, which on the other hand of course offers endless possibilities for design.
Well, the Tenori-On is interesting as a performance instrument for its EUR 1000 purchase price, but its extremely small sample memory means there is room for improvement even after the long-awaited V2.0 firmware update.