The tablet market is growing fast. Apple is leading the way with its iPad, while a countless number of Android tablets of all shapes and sizes are being released, the Google Nexus 7 being one of the better options at present. Then there is the forthcoming Windows 8, which will see another round of tablets launched, led by Microsoft's own Surface.

No manufacturer wants to be left behind, and Casio is now jumping on the proverbial bandwagon with a new range of tablets. The company recently unveiled four different models all offering very similar specs, but two of the four are what Casio is calling its Paper Writer tablets, which have a rather distinct selling point.

The Casio Paper Writer options are more-of-the-same Android tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich. But in a quest to differentiate its offerings from anything else currently on the market Casio has sought to link our paper past with our touchscreen future. The Casio Paper Writer tablets are aptly named, as their key selling point is their ability to capture everything penned on the paper notepad which sits opposite the tablet in its folding case.

It's an idea that has been tentatively explored before (remember the dual-screen E-ink/LCD enTourage). In this case the user takes notes on the paper provided, then, when the case is closed, the 5-MP front-facing camera built into the tablet takes a snapshot of whatever words and images have been scribbled on the notepad.

Alternatively the tablet can be positioned horizontally to take snapshots of other printed material, including documents and business cards. These images are then saved in a digital format to be recalled and/or manipulated on the tablet. The software provided will auto-create tags related to the digital images which can be searched at a later time.

The Casio Paper Writer tablets transform handwritten notes into digital images

Beyond the image capture features, the Casio Paper Writer tablets are capable-though-unspectacular, with each sporting a 10.1-inch capacitative touchscreen, a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal memory. They also feature Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and a range of USB, microSD, and HDMI slots.

The secondary selling point is the Casio Paper Writer range's ability to withstand environmental pressures. They billed as fall-resistant to 1 meter (3-ft) and both dust- and splash-proof. The battery, with a reported life of 10 hours on a single charge, can also be replaced as and when needed to by the user. Which is an obvious advantage this tablet has over every iteration of the iPad.

The Casio Paper Writer tablets are set to be released in Japan in September, but there are no details yet on either pricing or a wider release in other countries.

Source: Casio Japan (Google translation)