Google and ASUS had to cut a few corners to sell their Nexus 7 at $199. The tablet has no rear camera, support for cellular data, or expansion via microSD card slot, and comes with an SD front facing camera. Despite all these things, the tablet is still being sold at a loss to gain traction.

You can’t install a rear camera or magically get it to work with 4G LTE networks yet, but a developer over on XDA-Developers has come with a simple hack that enables the Nexus 7’s front facing camera to take video in 720p HD. We’ve prepared a guide for it right after the jump!

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DISCLAIMER: Redmond Pie will not be held responsible if you lose precious data or your device gets damaged in the following of this guide. Proceed at your own risk.

Note: This guide assumes that you have unlocked bootloader of and gained root access to your Nexus 7. If you wish to make system-level changes on your Android tablet, both are a necessary requirement. Just keep in mind that this will void your warranty, unless it’s from a third party service like SquareTrade that covers rooted devices.

Step 1: Download, install and launch a root-enabled file explorer like ES File Explorer (available on Google Play).

Step 2: Navigate to /system/etc/ to find a file named media_profiles.xml. Make a copy of it in a separate folder.

Step 3: Rename media_profiles.xml under /system/etc/ to media_profiles.xml.old.

Step 4: Cut the file from Step 2 and paste in /system/etc/. Launch it with a suitable text editor.

Step 5: Inside the file, you will find this text:

<EncoderProfile quality="480p" fileFormat="3gp" duration="30">
  <Video codec="h264"
         bitRate="4000000"
         width="640"
         height="480"
         frameRate="30" />

  <Audio codec="aac"
         bitRate="96000"
         sampleRate="44100"
         channels="1" />
</EncoderProfile>

Step 6: Add the following piece of code right after it:

<EncoderProfile quality="720p" fileFormat="3gp" duration="30">
  <Video codec="h264"
         bitRate="16000000"
         width="1280"
         height="720"
         frameRate="30" />

  <Audio codec="aac"
         bitRate="128000"
         sampleRate="48000"
         channels="1" />
</EncoderProfile>

Save this file.

Step 7: Long press media_profiles.xml that you just saved, tap on Properties and ensure that it has the following properties: User read, User write, Group read, Other read. You can see them under the Change button. Save these settings.

Step 8: Reboot your Nexus 7.

If you followed the steps correctly, your Google / ASUS Nexus 7’s camera will now be able to record HD video. This will enhance your video chatting experience and make for improved self portraits.

For queries, please visit the official thread over on XDA-Developers.

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