Monday, September 10, 2012

Hack lets Google Nexus 7 capture 720p video

Your Google Nexus 7 tablet may not have a rear-facing camera, but with a little technical know-how it appears you can get the slate's 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera to capture high-definition video. A user named "hillbeast" in the XDA Developers forum recently posted a quick how-to guide to get your Nexus 7 recording 720p video at 30 frames per second. Hillbeast also posted two videos to YouTube, which hillbeast says, contrasts the Nexus 7 recording video at 480p and 720p resolutions. Hillbeast's post on XDA was first reported by Pocketnow.

The two YouTube videos (included at the bottom of this post) show a substantial difference in capture quality. The 720p version enables you to see far more detail and colors are more vibrant. While there was no way to immediately verify these claims, it appears the 720p mod is the real deal; the code has been merged into the Jelly Bean version of Cyanogenmod currently under development. Cyanogenmod is an after-market version of Android that is popular with people who root (the Android version of jailbreak) their device. Hillbeast's software change will not be an easy solution for users who are unfamiliar with navigating a file system or using a Unix-style command line.

The modification requires you to edit an XML file and give it the proper file permissions using "chmod." You could, however, take care of most of the editing right on the device, but it appears to be a little easier to just hook your device up to a PC. Despite having a built-in front-facing camera (the Nexus One lacks a rear camera) Google made the odd choice of not including a simple way to launch and use the camera at will. Third-party developers soon came to the rescue with camera launchers such as Camera Launcher for Nexus 7 by MoDaCo. Check out these videos to see hillbeast's modification in action. To see the difference, make sure you set each video to its proper resolution by clicking the cog icon and selecting either 480p or 720p.

The 480p version:

The 720p version:

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