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As GPU becomes an integrated component in handheld devices like smartphones, we have been investigating the opportunities and limitations of utilizing the ultra-low-power GPU in a mobile platform as a general-purpose accelerator, similar to its role in desktop and server platforms. The special focus of our investigation has been on mobile GPU's role for energy-optimized real-time applications running on battery-powered handheld devices. In this work, we use face recognition as an application driver for our study. Our implementations on a smartphone reveals that, utilizing the mobile GPU as a co-processor can achieve significant speedup in performance as well as substantial reduction in total energy consumption, in comparison with a mobile-CPU-only implementation on the same platform.