updated 01:12 pm EDT, Mon September 10, 2012
Hack simply adds media files Google left out
Device modders have hacked the firmware powering Google's Nexus 7 tablet, allowing the device to record 720p video on its front-facing camera. The hack, revealed in a post on the XDA Developers forum, apparently does little more than add several lines of code to the Nexus 7's media profiles, telling the device how to record in 720p. The post provides both tethered and untethered methodologies for improving the recording quality on the 7-inch tablet.
The process is detailed in full on the forum post, but it involves modification of the /system/etc/media_profiles.xml file and the addition of a Camera.apk file. Some users have reported that the hack disables sound recording, though this may be an outgrowth of these users' particular setups.
When Google unveiled its new tablet, the lack of a rear-facing camera was cited by some as one of the device's more striking limitations, as Apple's iPad and many other tablets feature a rear-facing camera. Even the inclusion of a front-facing camera struck some observers as odd, as Google did not include a camera app, essentially limiting the device to video chats. Since its release, a number of developers have either developed new apps or altered their existing apps to take advantage of the device's limited image capture and recording capabilities.
The camera hack is but the latest in a number of alterations the modder community has made to Google's tablet. Previously, XDA modders tinkered with the device's kernel and managed to push its processor to 2GHz, far in excess of its 1.3GHz factory setting.