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From the discussion posted here and also from other online forums, I was under the impression that the face-detection sample does not use the native camera which might have been the primary reason of its low frame rate. So, I am not sure if this is the most optimal implementation or improvements can be made using the videocapture class (or some other technique) -- for which no example implementation is available for android devices.

@Shervin, I already tried the route and reading from sdcard significantly reduces framerate (~0.5fps). I realized that reading the xml file once in java and then passing the cascade classifier as an object through the JNI function would be faster. But I have not yet implemented that and don't know if this is feasible at all. Any more suggestion?