Casio has announced the VX Tablet, its first Android tablet which comes with a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen and a ruggedised case.

Though this demo model we saw at the Retail Business Technology Expo wasn’t fully charged, the spec sheet we glimpsed told us that it should run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The battery is said to give a solid performance - the specs (which we understand aren’t final) point to two battery sizes, 5000 mAh and 7000 mAh. That’s pretty huge.

The ruggedised casing provides drop protection for up to a metre and it has an IP rating of 54. Other specs include two cameras (5-megapixel main, 2-megapixel front) and 16GB of flash memory.

Aimed specifically for use in retail environments, it doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing Casio VX Tablets on the shelves of Dixons next to your Samsung Galaxy Tabs and your Motorola XOOMs. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll see a Casio VX Tablet behind the checkout.

Guy Boxall, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Casio told us, “the possibilities of using an Android platform tablet in an EPOS [electronic point of sale] scenario are almost entirely unexplored. Together with the release of the Casio Business Portal, this is especially exciting for the high street retailer today. As the consumer market has seen with mobile phones, there is huge potential for a greater range of EPOS apps and services to help the retail sector.”

The Casio Business Portal is a new app environment that Casio is hoping will see things such as mobile phone receipts replacing paper receipts and potential for tie ins with SMS vouchers and other promotions.

One thing that Casio is definitely looking to do is to get the VX Tablets installed at a point of sale so that they can be connected to card readers like Handpoint’s MPED 400. The black card reader here accepts Chip and PIN payments but the one we’re really interested in is this next version - this features an NFC reader alongside the card reader.

So the Casio VX Tablet will be compatible (albeit indirectly) with NFC-enabled phones.
Due to go on sale at the end of Q2 this year, prices weren’t available though a Casio spokesperson told us that the VX Tablet will be “more expensive” than the new iPad. Chances are you’re not going to be able to buy one which is a shame.