Google’s Glass gets new workplace partners

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SAN FRANCISCO – Google today announced a second set of five certified developer partners for Glass, the search company's $1,500 wearable computer.

As with the first five developers, announced in June, the selected companies are focused on the enterprise side of Glass, a sci-fi creation whose price and as-yet limited applications have for the moment kept it from being a broad consumer hit.

"We continue to work hard on the consumer side of Glass, but with enterprise there seems to a new use-case proposition each week," says Chris O'Neill, who runs global business operations for Glass. O'Neill reports to new Glass head Ivy Ross, who was brought into the Google fold to leverage her extensive consumer marketing experience to ease Glass' acceptance into the mainstream.

O'Neill says the continuing target for business use are the "roughly 80% of the global workforce that have blue-collar or true hands-on jobs, where if they put their tools down it means they're putting their work down."

'We don't think of (Google Glass) as a device, but as a platform.'

Chris O'Neill, head of global business for Google Glass

Among the new companies Google selected as partners for its Glass At Work initiative are Pristine of Austin, Texas (developers of secure video communication for health care workers), Ubimax of Bremen, Germany (improving the flow of manufacturing and order picking in factories) and Interapt of Louisville, Ky. (helping fast food companies improve employee training).

"Having our first international partners highlights the global potential of this product," says O'Neill. "We don't think of it as a device, but as a platform. We're good at this. Much like with Android, we just want to create an ecosystem and then set things in motion."

Kentucky engineer Ankur Gopal spent time with Google's futuristic device as an early Glass Explorer. He says he immediately saw the commercial potential for the product.

"We thought about the fast food business and just asked the question, 'Can you learn your job quicker using wearables?'" says Gopal, Interapt's CEO, who then convinced Yum Brands (Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken) to run a pilot program for employees that condensed an 80-page training handbook into a series of on-screen prompts.

'I was one of the guinea pigs, and in less than two hours I was making KFC chicken as if I'd worked there for a long time.'

Ankur Gopal, CEO Interapt

"I was one of the guinea pigs, and in less than two hours I was making KFC chicken as if I'd worked there for a long time," says Gopal. "Labor costs often are what concern these sorts of companies the most. So if you can help them on that front, that's real savings."

Gopal says based on their pilot, Yum Brands calculated that it could save almost 2% on labor costs due to faster training, which spread over some 8,000 locations would amount to tens of millions of dollars.

"It's not just about how to make a sandwich, but also taking you step by step on shutting down a fryer correctly or even an entire store," says Gopal, adding that he's working on future software tweaks that could offer prompts based on an employee's proximity to specific restaurant equipment.

He says a few pair of Glass would be kept with each store, "available for any new member that's in training, so it's not a matter of everyone in the company needing this device."

New hands-free software from Augmate, a Glass at Work partner, displays the image that a Glass-wearing employee would see when trying to locate goods in a warehouse.(Photo: Augmate)

Glass's O'Neill says another recent enterprise milestone was Hewlett-Packard's recent adoption of Glass as a troubleshooting tool for commercial printing clients.

A recent HP video posted on YouTube shows how clients can contact customer support and, using Glass as a visual aide, have their problems solved thanks to the customer support representative being able to literally see what the customer is observing.

"When you think of the old-school model of problems like this being solved by putting people on planes so they can fly to the client, this represents a major change in the way things are done," says O'Neill.

The other two certified partners in this new group are AMA (the French company specializes in telemedicine) and Augmate (the New York company is focused on bringing hands-free, real-time information to the so-called deskless work force).

Taken together, the 10 Glass partners have received more than $50 million in funding from a variety of venture capital firms, indicating a willingness on the part of leading edge investors to fund the wearable computer's transition from toy to tool.

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Sexy iPad Air 2 is fabulous but not a must upgrade

Video Keywords App Store New York City store transactions fingerprint scanner online transactions USA today

Ed Baig reviews the new Apple iPad Air 2

Video Transcript

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

00:02 Hi this is that big here in New York City
00:04 and I've got the brand new. I've had air Q this
00:08 is the brand new thinner lighter I've had it weighs just
00:11 under a pound. 18%. Thinner than its predecessor. Got a beautiful
00:16 display here and it brings the touch ID fingerprint scanner that.
00:22 Folks may know from recent iphones and what that means is
00:25 you can actually use your fingerprints. To unlock the display. Order
00:29 buys stuff on night tunes in the App Store the iBooks
00:33 store. And take advantage of the new apple pay payment system
00:37 although you can only do that on the iPad. For online
00:41 transactions not for in store transactions. No cause for 99 on
00:46 up with cellular models of course cost him a little bit
00:48 more than Wi-Fi only models. Now if you haven't upgraded to
00:53 an iPad for a while that is to say if you
00:56 have the original iPad or maybe the iPad two. Or if
01:00 you brand new to the iPad you're gonna love this thing
01:03 is is a great tablet. The best I've had out there
01:06 and I would say the best tablet out there and class.
01:10 Anyway of course it takes advantage of the 675000. Apps that
01:14 have been optimize for the iPad experience. However if you have
01:19 a more recent iPad may be a third generation iPad fourth
01:23 generation iPad or the predecessor to this. The air. Becomes ever
01:28 more difficult choice yes you would still love having this but
01:32 it's more difficult to justify. Paying the price. When frankly you're
01:37 existing iPad does almost everything this guy's. And does it almost
01:42 as well now a little bit slower perhaps but of course
01:45 you don't get the fingerprint. But otherwise you get a really
01:48 good I've had experience. So the bottom line this is big
01:52 great you iPad. Fitter. Faster. Lighter takes advantage of all the
01:58 apps. As the fingerprint scanner even comes in gold to terrific
02:02 new iPad and if you are new to the iPad or
02:05 have a really old iPad you can be thrilled with this
02:08 thing. Frankly he'll probably be pro though that if you have
02:10 a more recent iPad two. But the reason to upgrade just
02:15 isn't as strong. For USA today on that day and I'll
02:19 catch you next time.

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NEW YORK — During his keynote trumpeting the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple CEO Tim Cook bragged about how wildly satisfied customers are with their current iPads. Apple has sold more than 225 million in four years and the iPad has become the gold standard against which all other tablets are measured.

But sales have been slipping. And it is precisely because people are perfectly happy with existing iPads that I suspect Apple will have a difficult time persuading folks to upgrade. Especially when the Air 2 starts at $499, and its smaller sibling the mini 3 starts at $399.

Don't get me wrong. The Twiggy-thin iPad Air 2 that is the focus of this review is a stupendous tablet, the best out there, though the competition is more heated than ever. A strong case can be made for, among others, Samsung's striking Galaxy Tab S, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, and perhaps the upcoming HTC Google Nexus 9 that will run the new Android Lollipop software. (I haven't reviewed it yet.)

In a vacuum, I'd recommend the new Air 2 without hesitation, and if you're an iPad newbie and have spare cash, by all means go for it.

But with few notable exceptions — the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and better cameras your current iPad can accomplish pretty much everything the latest iPads can. Existing iPads can run most if not all of the more than 675,000 apps that have been optimized for Apple's tablets. Even the relatively ancient iPad 2 can run the new iOS 8 software update.

That's not to say the new iPad isn't better, both aesthetically and inside. The aluminum tablet weighs just under a pound and is a mere quarter-of-an-inch thick 18% thinner than its already pencil-thin predecessor the iPad Air. The first Air is still formidable enough to remain in Apple's lineup for a not-so-inexpensive $399 on up.

Apple exec Phil Schiller talk about the new iPad Air 2 during Apple's launch event.(Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

The thinness of the Air 2 is even more dramatic when you compare it with earlier models. As Apple noted last week, two iPad Air 2s stacked on top of one another come out thinner than a single original iPad, which people still rely on. Of course, that original iPad is tired by now and won't run everything; if that's your main slate it may be time to move on.

On Air 2, everything is as snappy as you'd expect in a machine with a powerful new processor, Apple's own A8X. The 9.7-inch Retina display is beautiful, evidenced by stunning graphics in such games as Gameloft's Asphalt 8 Airborne and Epic Games' Zen Garden.

Apple also claims more robust wireless performance, through state of the art Wi-Fi and (on more expensive cellular models) LTE connections.

One new development comes with a reprogrammable Apple SIM card on cellular models. It is supposed to give you added flexibility to choose or switch carriers or plans, including when you travel., In the U.S., Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T are embracing the new SIM, though restrictions may still apply and Verizon isn't supporting it.

The improved cameras take wonderful pictures. As with other models the huge display on the back doubles as a handy viewfinder. The rear camera has an 8-megapixel sensor (up from 5-megapixels on the Air). You can take up to 10 burst shots a second and shoot high-res panoramas. Air 2's also can shoot video in slow motion (at 120 frames-per-second) and time-lapse videos (sped-up videos of slow-moving action).

My favorite new feature is Touch ID, the convenient fingerprint scanner on newer iPhones. You can use it to unlock the iPad and as a password substitute when you're making purchases in iTunes, the App Store and the iBooks Store. It almost always recognized my finger. You can use it with the new Apple Pay mobile payments system, too, but only to make online purchases, not in-store payments.

I didn't do a formal battery test but Apple is promising 10 hours, same as on the first Air.

Air 2 is the finest iPad there is and that is saying a lot. It's svelte, light, good-looking, robust, and has a fingerprint reader and app library second to none. But if you've been getting by fine with a third generation or newer iPad — and you're not ready to hand that iPad down to a family member — feel free to happily stay put.

THE BOTTOM LINE

iPad Air 2

www.apple.com

$499, $599, $699 for 16GB, 64GB and 128GB; cellular models cost $130 more.

Pro. Thin and light, gorgeous display, strong cameras, 675,000 apps, robust wireless, Touch ID.

Con. Expensive. Not a must upgrade for owners with recent iPads. Memory can't be expanded.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter.

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Glass in the workplace gets new Google partners

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SAN FRANCISCO – Google today announced a second set of five certified developer partners for Glass, the search company's $1,500 wearable computer.

As with the first five developers, announced in June, the selected companies are focused on the enterprise side of Glass, a sci-fi creation whose price and as-yet limited applications have for the moment kept it from being a broad consumer hit.

"We continue to work hard on the consumer side of Glass, but with enterprise there seems to a new use-case proposition each week," says Chris O'Neill, who runs global business operations for Glass. O'Neill reports to new Glass head Ivy Ross, who was brought into the Google fold to leverage her extensive consumer marketing experience to ease Glass' acceptance into the mainstream.

O'Neill says the continuing target for business use are the "roughly 80% of the global workforce that have blue-collar or true hands-on jobs, where if they put their tools down it means they're putting their work down."

'We don't think of (Google Glass) as a device, but as a platform.'

Chris O'Neill, head of global business for Google Glass

Among the new companies Google selected as partners for its Glass At Work initiative are Pristine of Austin, Texas (developers of secure video communication for health care workers), Ubimax of Bremen, Germany (improving the flow of manufacturing and order picking in factories) and Interapt of Louisville, Ky. (helping fast food companies improve employee training).

"Having our first international partners highlights the global potential of this product," says O'Neill. "We don't think of it as a device, but as a platform. We're good at this. Much like with Android, we just want to create an ecosystem and then set things in motion."

Kentucky engineer Ankur Gopal spent time with Google's futuristic device as an early Glass Explorer. He says he immediately saw the commercial potential for the product.

"We thought about the fast food business and just asked the question, 'Can you learn your job quicker using wearables?'" says Gopal, Interapt's CEO, who then convinced Yum Brands (Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken) to run a pilot program for employees that condensed an 80-page training handbook into a series of on-screen prompts.

'I was one of the guinea pigs, and in less than two hours I was making KFC chicken as if I'd worked there for a long time.'

Ankur Gopal, CEO Interapt

"I was one of the guinea pigs, and in less than two hours I was making KFC chicken as if I'd worked there for a long time," says Gopal. "Labor costs often are what concern these sorts of companies the most. So if you can help them on that front, that's real savings."

Gopal says based on their pilot, Yum Brands calculated that it could save almost 2% on labor costs due to faster training, which spread over some 8,000 locations would amount to tens of millions of dollars.

"It's not just about how to make a sandwich, but also taking you step by step on shutting down a fryer correctly or even an entire store," says Gopal, adding that he's working on future software tweaks that could offer prompts based on an employee's proximity to specific restaurant equipment.

He says a few pair of Glass would be kept with each store, "available for any new member that's in training, so it's not a matter of everyone in the company needing this device."

New hands-free software from Augmate, a Glass at Work partner, displays the image that a Glass-wearing employee would see when trying to locate goods in a warehouse.(Photo: Augmate)

Glass's O'Neill says another recent enterprise milestone was Hewlett-Packard's recent adoption of Glass as a troubleshooting tool for commercial printing clients.

A recent HP video posted on YouTube shows how clients can contact customer support and, using Glass as a visual aide, have their problems solved thanks to the customer support representative being able to literally see what the customer is observing.

"When you think of the old-school model of problems like this being solved by putting people on planes so they can fly to the client, this represents a major change in the way things are done," says O'Neill.

The other two certified partners in this new group are AMA (the French company specializes in telemedicine) and Augmate (the New York company is focused on bringing hands-free, real-time information to the so-called deskless work force).

Taken together, the 10 Glass partners have received more than $50 million in funding from a variety of venture capital firms, indicating a willingness on the part of leading edge investors to fund the wearable computer's transition from toy to tool.

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Kevin Nealon rocks with Traveler Guitar

Comedian Kevin Nealon of 'Saturday Night Live' fame sits down with Jefferson Graham to talk his new web series on AOL and favorite tech gadgets. VPC

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Former Saturday Night Live and Weeds co-star Kevin Nealon has a new gig — a Web series for AOL. The comedian taps famous pals including Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres and Sarah Silverman to appear with him on Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon, teaching kids to do comedy. Nealon talked to us about gadgets and fans' biggest tech requests of him.

ONLINE COMEDY

Laugh Lessons was born when comic Garry Shandling came to visit and started teaching Nealon's then 4-year-old how to do a pratfall. The show's Web format is terrific at five to seven minutes, he says. "It's a lot easier to watch."

DEVICES

Nealon performs most weekends doing stand-up comedy (he'll be in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday). He leaves home with his MacBook laptop, Bose portable speakers, Mophie case/charger for his iPhone and the Traveler Guitar EG1, which fits in the overhead compartment and sells for around $500. "It's electric. There's no headstock on it, so you string the guitar by wrapping them around the body of the guitar. Plug it into the Bose headphones, and it sounds like you're playing with an amp." The headphones also come in handy on airplanes to listen to podcasts (Marc Maron's WTF, Ted Talks) and Pandora.

GLOWING PALMS

Looking out into the audience at his shows, "I see a lot of glowing palms" as folks check their phones. "I used to comment on it, but now I don't. It's so prevalent." He himself learned a hard lesson. He was attending a play starring a friend in New York, "got bored" and checked his e-mail a few times, then went backstage afterward to say hi. "Did you get any good messages?" the actor asked him. "I'll never do that again," says Nealon.

After comedy shows, fans ask for "selfies" and for him to record incoming greetings on their phones. "I don't mind. It's fun."

Comedian Kevin Nealon at home with the Traveler Guitar.(Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)

ONLINE MEMORIALS

Nealon's former Saturday Night Live co-star Jan Hooks recently died. He says he was touched by the "outpouring of love" for her and the impact the online community can make now when someone passes.

"It's a huge groundswell, and that's great. It's a nice way to find out about someone's popularity and love." The Web offers "people a way to share their feelings."

FAVORITE APPS

The road warrior chooses Flight Update (Free, Apple). It tells you the status of a flight, if it's on time, and where baggage will be.

For traveling around town he likes Waze to check traffic, and at home, the Sonos app, which controls his wireless speaker system.

Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter

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Kevin Nealon rocks in hotel room with Traveler Guitar

Comedian Kevin Nealon of 'Saturday Night Live' fame sits down with Jefferson Graham to talk his new web series on AOL and favorite tech gadgets. VPC

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Former Saturday Night Live and Weeds co-star Kevin Nealon has a new gig — a Web series for AOL. The comedian taps famous pals including Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres and Sarah Silverman to appear with him on Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon, teaching kids to do comedy. Nealon talked to us about gadgets and fans' biggest tech requests of him.

ONLINE COMEDY

Laugh Lessons was born when comic Garry Shandling came to visit and started teaching Nealon's then 4-year-old how to do a pratfall. The show's Web format is terrific at five to seven minutes, he says. "It's a lot easier to watch."

DEVICES

Nealon performs most weekends doing stand-up comedy (he'll be in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday). He leaves home with his MacBook laptop, Bose portable speakers, Mophie case/charger for his iPhone and the Traveler Guitar EG1, which fits in the overhead compartment and sells for around $500. "It's electric. There's no headstock on it, so you string the guitar by wrapping them around the body of the guitar. Plug it into the Bose headphones, and it sounds like you're playing with an amp." The headphones also come in handy on airplanes to listen to podcasts (Marc Maron's WTF, Ted Talks) and Pandora.

GLOWING PALMS

Looking out into the audience at his shows, "I see a lot of glowing palms" as folks check their phones. "I used to comment on it, but now I don't. It's so prevalent." He himself learned a hard lesson. He was attending a play starring a friend in New York, "got bored" and checked his e-mail a few times, then went backstage afterward to say hi. "Did you get any good messages?" the actor asked him. "I'll never do that again," says Nealon.

After comedy shows, fans ask for "selfies" and for him to record incoming greetings on their phones. "I don't mind. It's fun."

Comedian Kevin Nealon at home with the Traveler Guitar.(Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)

ONLINE MEMORIALS

Nealon's former Saturday Night Live co-star Jan Hooks recently died. He says he was touched by the "outpouring of love" for her and the impact the online community can make now when someone passes.

"It's a huge groundswell, and that's great. It's a nice way to find out about someone's popularity and love." The Web offers "people a way to share their feelings."

FAVORITE APPS

The road warrior chooses Flight Update (Free, Apple). It tells you the status of a flight, if it's on time, and where baggage will be.

For traveling around town he likes Waze to check traffic, and at home, the Sonos app, which controls his wireless speaker system.

Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter

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Leeo night light alerts phones to danger

Adam Gettings, CEO of Leeo, is launching a new 'smart alert night light' which is a simple device that monitors your smoke detectors and can send a message to your smartphone.

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SAN FRANCISCO – Most of us have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors dotting our homes. When they beep, we react.

But what if the house is empty when the alarm sounds? Would you pay $99 to be alerted instantly on your smartphone?

That's the value proposition posited by the folks behind the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight, a new smarthome device that launches today at Leeo.com. The coaster-size white disc gets its power from being plugged into a socket, and features a dimmable night light that can glow in 16 million colors.

Once paired to the Leeo app and your home's wireless network, the device listens for the distinct pitches of either a smoke or carbon monoxide alert and if detected immediately calls and texts your phone. If you don't respond, it automatically tries to reach an unlimited number of friends and family you've listed in a contact tree.

The idea for Leeo was born of heartache, says CEO Adam Gettings, a robotics expert who recently visited USA TODAY's offices.

"I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and a friend of mine there had a fire at his home when he was away and literally lost everything he had. We were inspired to try and help that not happen again," says Gettings, whose Palo Alto-based company has raised $37 million from the likes of Visionnaire Ventures, Formation 8 and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

'We couldn't ask people to rewire their homes or do anything complicated. Simplicity was key.'

Charles Huang, COO Leeo

Joining Gettings was COO Charles Huang, co-founder of Guitar Hero gaming company RedOctane. Another partner in the project is Ammunition, a design firm started by former Apple design chief and Beats headphones stylist Robert Brunner.

Huang notes it was crucial that ease-of-use be intrinsic to whatever the duo invented. "We couldn't ask people to rewire their homes or do anything complicated," he says. "Simplicity was key."

Leeo is slotting itself into an interesting space between owners of old-school monitoring devices and those who have purchased Wi-Fi-connected versions such as Nest's Thermostat ($249) and Protect carbon monoxide detector ($99).

Leeo should appeal to consumers who are interested in being connected to such safety devices but aren't interested in replacing existing units.

The Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight ($99) glows in millions of colors and alerts homeowners via smartphone when their smoke or carbon monoxide detectors are triggered.(Photo: Wes Sumner)

Gettings says one Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight will cover an apartment or small home, though for larger houses one per floor is recommended.

This Leeo product is the first in what will be a broad range of smarthome gadgets, says Gettings. He won't say specifically what's next, but you get a hint via his extensive interest in energy-efficient homes.

"Night lights are big here, but not so much in Europe and Asia," says Gettings. "For those continents, the really big issue is the high cost of energy, to the point where in some countries there's a debit model where if you pay for $100 of energy and use it up, your power gets shut off. So managing that is an opportunity for us."

For designer Brunner, his decision to partner with and help shape Leeo's first product was motivated by the founders' desire to make the so-called Internet of Things be accessible to a broad consumer base.

"They wanted to make it easy for people to move into the IoT space, which appealed to me," says Brunner. "I felt I could help by simply making a beautiful object that people would want to have in their home. In so many ways it's a fascinating time to be a designer, because we're constantly re-exploring gadgets and devices that we all thought were done."

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Tech Five: Apple shares jump off iPhone sales

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Investors appear pleased with the demand for Apple's latest smartphone. Let's look at the technology stocks to watch Tuesday:

Apple. Shares of the Cupertino, California, company jumped 3% in morning trading after reporting it sold 39 million iPhones in the third quarter. Analysts had predicted sales of 37-38 million. The company also recorded $8.5 billion in profits off $42.1 billion in revenue.

Yahoo. The tech company reports third quarter earnings after the markets close Tuesday. According to Techcrunch, Yahoo is in talks to acquire digital video advertising service Brightroll for $700 million.

Verizon. The telecommunications giant reported double-digit earnings growth for the third quarter. However, their third-quarter earnings per share still fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam says demand for wireless and broadband services has been "healthy."

IBM. Shares of the tech bellwether are steady after abandoning its earnings guidance for 2015 and reporting quarterly earnings that were way off Wall Street forecasts. IBM also announced it would hand over its chip division to Silicon Valley firm GlobalFoundries.

Microsoft. The tech giant is working with Dell on a cloud hardware and software platform, Venturebeat reports. The service will be available starting next month.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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Verizon earnings up off ‘healthy’ consumer demand

Verizon earnings up off 'healthy' demand

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Verizon earnings up off 'healthy' demand

Verizon shares dipped slightly after its third-quarter earnings per share missed estimates. However, the telecommunications giant reported double-digit growth off "healthy" demand for broadband and wireless

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Verizon shares dipped slightly after its third-quarter earnings per share missed estimates. However, the telecommunications giant reported double-digit growth off "healthy" demand for broadband and wireless services.

The company reported earnings per share of 89 cents. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting earnings of 90 cents per share. Verizon also reported $31.6 billion in revenue, a 4.3% increase from last year.

For the quarter, Verizon added 1.5 million retail connections through its wireless division. In the broadband space, Verizon finished the quarter with 6.5 million FiOS connections, a 8.8% jump year-over-year.

"We see continued, healthy customer demand for wireless and broadband services, and we are encouraged by the growth we are starting to see in the areas of video delivery and machine-to-machine," said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in a statement.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

Contributing: Associated Press

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After weeks of clashes, Hong Kong takes time out to debate political showdown

October 21 at 7:07 AM

Hong Kong’s political showdowns shifted Tuesday from the streets to a drab university hall as protest leaders faced off with government officials in a highly anticipated debate after more than three weeks of unrest.

The meeting — broadcast live and streamed on the Internet — was an overture toward possible dialogue to ease tensions that have paralyzed major portions of the city. The confrontations also have highlighted serious rifts between Beijing and demonstrators seeking greater political freedoms for the former British colony.

But many across the city expressed deep pessimism about what, if any, effect it would have on the stalemate. Anticipation still ran high on both sides.

Police fanned out across protest sites, where hundreds gathered to follow the debate live on mobile phones.

Hong Kong media reported that the five students chosen as representatives for the debate had holed up in cram sessions for several nights. They were coached by an impressive roster of elder statesmen in Hong Kong’s pro-democratic circles, including a former justice secretary.

The demands of the protesters are well known: Seeking to have Beijing roll back plans to vet candidates for 2017 elections in Hong Kong and allow voters to pick their own leader, who operates under Chinese authorities but still wields considerable power.

The demonstrators also want China to allow Hong Kong more general autonomy from China’s tight political controls.

The debate is a chance for the protesters to expand their message and try to win over residents who have been uneasy about the demonstrators’ methods of blocking streets and confronting authorities in the normally efficient and highly organized city.

The student-led protesters continued to hold their ground despite attempts by police to disperse them overnight. Many students saidthey wanted to wait and see if where the talks Tuesday might lead.

Dozens have been injured in sporadic clashes between police — in anti-riot gear and using batons and pepper sprays — and students often armed only with umbrellas, which have become a symbol of the pro-democracy movement.

The crackdowns also have moved to the online world, which has become a key element in organizing the protests. On Monday, a 23-year-old man was arrested on charges of using social media to encourage protests in the congested Mong Kok district and urging crowds “to charge at police and to paralyze the railways.’’

China has used state media editorials and statements from its foreign ministry to insist that the protests are being driven by unnamed foreign forces – a claim protesters have dismissed.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying repeated Tuesday that “external forces” are behind the student protests, and hinted he may be releasing some form of proof backing up that claim.

It’s highly unlikely that Chinese authorities will consent to any serious change in its policies on Hong Kong, which was turned over by Britain in 1997. Before the debate, however, Leung said it was possible to make China’s election vetting process for Hong Kong “more democratic.”

“There’s room for discussion there,” Leung told a small group of journalists, according to the Reuters news agency, without giving details. “There’s room to make the nominating committee more democratic.”

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Can talks end Hong Kong stalemate?

  • Student leaders will meet with Hong Kong government representatives on Tuesday evening
  • It's the first time the two sides have met since pro-democracy protesters took to the streets
  • Talks best chance for peaceful end to protests that have convulsed the city
  • However, few expect major concessions.

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Student leaders will meet with Hong Kong government representatives Tuesday, the first time the two sides have met since pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of the city more than three weeks ago.

But while the talks present the best chance for a peaceful resolution to the chaotic demonstrations that have convulsed the city and divided its residents, they are unlikely to yield major concessions given that the government and protest leaders remain poles apart.

"The start of talks is not an end in itself," said Anson Chan, a former senior government official.

"Only the government can break the current impasse. It must show the leadership that has been totally lacking in the past three weeks, by coming to the table with proposals that offer genuine and substantial reform."

Police and protesters face each other across a barricade as tensions continue in in Hong Kong on Monday, October 20. Pro-democracy demonstrators are angry about China's decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to run in Hong Kong's elections for chief executive in 2017.Police and protesters face each other across a barricade as tensions continue in in Hong Kong on Monday, October 20. Pro-democracy demonstrators are angry about China's decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to run in Hong Kong's elections for chief executive in 2017.
Riot police advance on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, October 19.Riot police advance on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, October 19.
A woman reads on a road barricaded by pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on October 19.A woman reads on a road barricaded by pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on October 19.
Police officers yell at pro-democracy protesters as they push forward in an attempt to clear a street in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Saturday, October 18.Police officers yell at pro-democracy protesters as they push forward in an attempt to clear a street in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Saturday, October 18.
Pro-democracy protesters sleep next to a barricade on October 18 after reclaiming streets in Mong Kok after a night of violent scuffles with police.Pro-democracy protesters sleep next to a barricade on October 18 after reclaiming streets in Mong Kok after a night of violent scuffles with police.
A Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray during clashes with police on Friday, October 17. A Hong Kong journalist collapses in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray during clashes with police on Friday, October 17.
Police use batons to hit pro-democracy protesters using raised umbrellas for protection during a clash on October 17. Police use batons to hit pro-democracy protesters using raised umbrellas for protection during a clash on October 17.
Protesters and riot police officers face off at a main road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on October 17. Protesters and riot police officers face off at a main road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on October 17.
People shout at pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Friday, October 17. People shout at pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Friday, October 17.
Riot police clear out an encampment of protesters in the Mong Kok district on October 17. Police swooped in early to dismantle the protest campsite.Riot police clear out an encampment of protesters in the Mong Kok district on October 17. Police swooped in early to dismantle the protest campsite.
Demonstrators remove their belongings from a protest camp early October 17.Demonstrators remove their belongings from a protest camp early October 17.
Pro-democracy protesters break down as riot police clear their camp October 17.Pro-democracy protesters break down as riot police clear their camp October 17.
Riot police remove barricades early October 17.Riot police remove barricades early October 17.
Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung arrives for a press conference on Thursday, October 16. He said talks would resume with students as early as next week, but said street protests had caused severe disruption and could not continue.Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung arrives for a press conference on Thursday, October 16. He said talks would resume with students as early as next week, but said street protests had caused severe disruption and could not continue.
Pro-democracy demonstrator Ken Tsang gets taken taken away by police before allegedly being beaten up in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 15. Authorities have vowed to conduct an investigation into a widely circulated video that appears to show plainclothes officers kicking and punching the man. Pro-democracy demonstrator Ken Tsang gets taken taken away by police before allegedly being beaten up in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 15. Authorities have vowed to conduct an investigation into a widely circulated video that appears to show plainclothes officers kicking and punching the man.
A police officer shouts at a protester who was hit with pepper spray on October 15.A police officer shouts at a protester who was hit with pepper spray on October 15.
Pro-democracy protesters hide behind umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray on October 15.Pro-democracy protesters hide behind umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray on October 15.
Protesters move barriers as others block a main road in Hong Kong with metal and plastic safety barriers on October 15.Protesters move barriers as others block a main road in Hong Kong with metal and plastic safety barriers on October 15.
Police march toward pro-democracy protesters outside central government offices in Hong Kong on October 15.Police march toward pro-democracy protesters outside central government offices in Hong Kong on October 15.
Protesters gather near central government offices in Hong Kong on October 15.Protesters gather near central government offices in Hong Kong on October 15.
Police move toward pro-democracy protesters during a standoff outside central government offices in Hong Kong on Tuesday, October 14.Police move toward pro-democracy protesters during a standoff outside central government offices in Hong Kong on Tuesday, October 14.
Police remove bamboo that pro-democracy protesters had set up to block off main roads in Hong Kong on October 14. Police remove bamboo that pro-democracy protesters had set up to block off main roads in Hong Kong on October 14.
Pro-democracy protesters watch as police remove barricades in Hong Kong on October 14.Pro-democracy protesters watch as police remove barricades in Hong Kong on October 14.
Cleaners sweep the main road after the police's removal of barricades on October 14.Cleaners sweep the main road after the police's removal of barricades on October 14.
Police ask a protester to leave the main road of Hong Kong's Central district on October 14.Police ask a protester to leave the main road of Hong Kong's Central district on October 14.
Police dismantle barricades from the streets in Hong Kong on October 14.Police dismantle barricades from the streets in Hong Kong on October 14.
Police officers run to barricades set up by protesters on October 14.Police officers run to barricades set up by protesters on October 14.
Pro-democracy protesters raise their hands behind police officers after people tried to remove the metal barricades that protesters set up to block off main roads near the city's financial district in Hong Kong on Monday, October 13. Pro-democracy protesters raise their hands behind police officers after people tried to remove the metal barricades that protesters set up to block off main roads near the city's financial district in Hong Kong on Monday, October 13.
A police officer tries to stop a man October 13 from removing metal barricades set up by protesters.A police officer tries to stop a man October 13 from removing metal barricades set up by protesters.
A police officer scuffles with a man in Hong Kong on October 13.A police officer scuffles with a man in Hong Kong on October 13.
Police officers arrest a pro-democracy demonstrator in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on October 13.Police officers arrest a pro-democracy demonstrator in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on October 13.
A pro-democracy demonstrator sets up a new barricade made of bamboo in Hong Kong on October 13.A pro-democracy demonstrator sets up a new barricade made of bamboo in Hong Kong on October 13.
Police officers remove barricades used by protesters in Hong Kong on October 13.Police officers remove barricades used by protesters in Hong Kong on October 13.
Taxi drivers protest in Hong Kong on October 13, urging pro-democracy demonstrators to clear the roads.Taxi drivers protest in Hong Kong on October 13, urging pro-democracy demonstrators to clear the roads.
People gather beneath the statue "Umbrella Man," by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, which has become a symbol at the protest site, on Saturday, October 11, in Hong Kong.People gather beneath the statue "Umbrella Man," by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, which has become a symbol at the protest site, on Saturday, October 11, in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy protesters remain scattered at the protest site in Admiralty on Thursday, October 9. The government canceled talks that day after protest leaders urged supporters to keep up the occupation. Pro-democracy protesters remain scattered at the protest site in Admiralty on Thursday, October 9. The government canceled talks that day after protest leaders urged supporters to keep up the occupation.
Taxi drivers attend a small demonstration calling for protesters to stop blocking roads through the city on October 9. Taxi drivers attend a small demonstration calling for protesters to stop blocking roads through the city on October 9.
A woman drinks a soda as she walks past a barricade erected by pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong on October 9.A woman drinks a soda as she walks past a barricade erected by pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong on October 9.
A pro-democracy protester sleeps on a street in the occupied area surrounding the government complex in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 8. A pro-democracy protester sleeps on a street in the occupied area surrounding the government complex in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 8.
A pro-democracy protester reads a newspaper in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Tuesday, October 7, as a police officer stands nearby.A pro-democracy protester reads a newspaper in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district on Tuesday, October 7, as a police officer stands nearby.
Protesters walk up an empty street inside the protest site near Hong Kong's government complex on October 7.Protesters walk up an empty street inside the protest site near Hong Kong's government complex on October 7.
Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student protest leader, is interviewed at the protest site near government headquarters on Monday, October 6.Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student protest leader, is interviewed at the protest site near government headquarters on Monday, October 6.
A man walks to work as pro-democracy demonstrators sleep on the road in the occupied areas surrounding the government complex in Hong Kong on October 6.A man walks to work as pro-democracy demonstrators sleep on the road in the occupied areas surrounding the government complex in Hong Kong on October 6.
A ray of sunlight bathes sleeping protesters as they occupy a major highway in Hong Kong on October 6. Protesters say Beijing has gone back on its pledge to allow universal suffrage in Hong Kong, which was promised "a high degree of autonomy" when it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.A ray of sunlight bathes sleeping protesters as they occupy a major highway in Hong Kong on October 6. Protesters say Beijing has gone back on its pledge to allow universal suffrage in Hong Kong, which was promised "a high degree of autonomy" when it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.
People take an escalator to work as protesters sleep on October 6.People take an escalator to work as protesters sleep on October 6.
The statue "Umbrella Man," by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, stands at a pro-democracy protest site in the Admiralty district on October 6.The statue "Umbrella Man," by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, stands at a pro-democracy protest site in the Admiralty district on October 6.
People walk to work on a main road in the occupied areas of Hong Kong on October 6.People walk to work on a main road in the occupied areas of Hong Kong on October 6.
Police officers remove barriers outside government offices in Hong Kong on Sunday, October 5.Police officers remove barriers outside government offices in Hong Kong on Sunday, October 5.
Student protesters carry a barrier to block a street leading to the protest site on October 5.Student protesters carry a barrier to block a street leading to the protest site on October 5.
Pro-democracy demonstrators occupy the streets near government headquarters on October 5. Pro-democracy demonstrators occupy the streets near government headquarters on October 5.
Pro-democracy demonstrators surround police October 5 in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong.Pro-democracy demonstrators surround police October 5 in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong.
A pro-democracy protester holds on to a barrier as he and others defend a barricade from attacks by rival protest groups in the Mong Kok district on Saturday, October 4.A pro-democracy protester holds on to a barrier as he and others defend a barricade from attacks by rival protest groups in the Mong Kok district on Saturday, October 4.
Pro-democracy student protesters pin a man to the ground after an assault during a scuffle with local residents in Mong Kok on October 4. Pro-democracy student protesters pin a man to the ground after an assault during a scuffle with local residents in Mong Kok on October 4.
Pro-democracy protesters raise their arms in a sign of nonviolence as they protect a barricade from rival protest groups in the Mong Kok district on October 4. Pro-democracy protesters raise their arms in a sign of nonviolence as they protect a barricade from rival protest groups in the Mong Kok district on October 4.
A pro-Beijing activist holds up blue ribbons for anti-Occupy Central protestors to collect as pro-government speeches are made in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on October 4.A pro-Beijing activist holds up blue ribbons for anti-Occupy Central protestors to collect as pro-government speeches are made in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on October 4.
A man sits in front of a barricade built by pro-democracy protesters on October 4 in the Kowloon district.A man sits in front of a barricade built by pro-democracy protesters on October 4 in the Kowloon district.
Thousands of pro-democracy activists attend a rally on the streets near government headquarters on October 4 in Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy activists attend a rally on the streets near government headquarters on October 4 in Hong Kong.
A group of men in masks fight with a man who tried to stop them from removing barricades from a pro-democracy protest area in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on Friday, October 3.A group of men in masks fight with a man who tried to stop them from removing barricades from a pro-democracy protest area in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on Friday, October 3.
Police raise hands against protesters as an ambulance tries to leave the compound of the chief executive office in Hong Kong on October 3. Police raise hands against protesters as an ambulance tries to leave the compound of the chief executive office in Hong Kong on October 3.
A protester tries to negotiate with angry residents trying to remove barricades blocking streets in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay on October 3. Large crowds opposed to the pro-democracy movement gathered to clear the area.A protester tries to negotiate with angry residents trying to remove barricades blocking streets in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay on October 3. Large crowds opposed to the pro-democracy movement gathered to clear the area.
Pro-democracy demonstrators protect a barricade from "anti-Occupy" crowds in Hong Kong on October 3. Pro-democracy demonstrators protect a barricade from "anti-Occupy" crowds in Hong Kong on October 3.
A man shouts at a pro-democracy demonstrator on October 3.A man shouts at a pro-democracy demonstrator on October 3.
Police try to pry a man from a fence guarded by pro-democracy demonstrators on October 3.Police try to pry a man from a fence guarded by pro-democracy demonstrators on October 3.
Pro-democracy demonstrators sleep on the street outside a government complex in Hong Kong on Thursday, October 2.Pro-democracy demonstrators sleep on the street outside a government complex in Hong Kong on Thursday, October 2.
As the sun rises, a protester reads during a sit-in blocking the entrance to the chief executive's office on October 2.As the sun rises, a protester reads during a sit-in blocking the entrance to the chief executive's office on October 2.
Yellow ribbons, a symbol of the protests in Hong Kong, are tied to a fence as police and security officers stand guard at the government headquarters on October 2.Yellow ribbons, a symbol of the protests in Hong Kong, are tied to a fence as police and security officers stand guard at the government headquarters on October 2.
Protesters confront police outside the government complex in Hong Kong on October 2.Protesters confront police outside the government complex in Hong Kong on October 2.
Protesters camp out in a street in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 1. Protesters camp out in a street in Hong Kong on Wednesday, October 1.
Founder of the student pro-democracy group Scholarism, Joshua Wong, center, stands in silent protest with supporters at the flag-raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong on October 1. Founder of the student pro-democracy group Scholarism, Joshua Wong, center, stands in silent protest with supporters at the flag-raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong on October 1.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive C.Y. Leung attends a flag raising ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China on October 1. Hong Kong's Chief Executive C.Y. Leung attends a flag raising ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China on October 1.
A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters on Wednesday, October 1.A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters on Wednesday, October 1.
Hong Kong police stand guard outside the flag-raising ceremony October 1.Hong Kong police stand guard outside the flag-raising ceremony October 1.
Pro-democracy demonstrators gather for a third night in Hong Kong on Tuesday, September 30. Pro-democracy demonstrators gather for a third night in Hong Kong on Tuesday, September 30.
Protesters sing songs and wave their cell phones in the air after a massive thunderstorm passed over the Hong Kong Government Complex on September 30.Protesters sing songs and wave their cell phones in the air after a massive thunderstorm passed over the Hong Kong Government Complex on September 30.
Protesters take part in a rally on a street outside the Hong Kong Government Complex on September 30.Protesters take part in a rally on a street outside the Hong Kong Government Complex on September 30.
Student activists rest on a road in Hong Kong on September 30, near the government headquarters where pro-democracy activists have gathered.Student activists rest on a road in Hong Kong on September 30, near the government headquarters where pro-democracy activists have gathered.
A pro-democracy demonstrator guards a bus covered with messages of support in Hong Kong on September 30.A pro-democracy demonstrator guards a bus covered with messages of support in Hong Kong on September 30.
Protesters sleep on the streets outside the Hong Kong Government Complex at sunrise on September 30.Protesters sleep on the streets outside the Hong Kong Government Complex at sunrise on September 30.
Protesters hold up their cell phones in a display of solidarity during a protest outside the Legislative Council headquarters in Hong Kong on Monday, September 29.Protesters hold up their cell phones in a display of solidarity during a protest outside the Legislative Council headquarters in Hong Kong on Monday, September 29.
Protesters put on goggles and wrap themselves in plastic on September 29 after hearing a rumor that police were coming with tear gas.Protesters put on goggles and wrap themselves in plastic on September 29 after hearing a rumor that police were coming with tear gas.
Police officers stand off with protesters next to the Hong Kong police headquarters on September 29.Police officers stand off with protesters next to the Hong Kong police headquarters on September 29.
A man helps protesters use a makeshift ladder to climb over concrete street barricades on September 29.A man helps protesters use a makeshift ladder to climb over concrete street barricades on September 29.
Riot police fire tear gas on student protesters occupying streets around government buildings in Hong Kong on September 29.Riot police fire tear gas on student protesters occupying streets around government buildings in Hong Kong on September 29.
Police officers rest after protests on September 29. Police officers rest after protests on September 29.
Pro-democracy protesters argue with a man, left, who opposes the occupation of Nathan Road in Hong Kong on September 29. Pro-democracy protesters argue with a man, left, who opposes the occupation of Nathan Road in Hong Kong on September 29.
Pro-democracy protesters sit in a road as they face off with local police on September 29.Pro-democracy protesters sit in a road as they face off with local police on September 29.
Pro-democracy protesters rest around empty buses as they block Nathan Road in Hong Kong on September 29. Multiple bus routes have been suspended or diverted.Pro-democracy protesters rest around empty buses as they block Nathan Road in Hong Kong on September 29. Multiple bus routes have been suspended or diverted.
Police walk down a stairwell as demonstrators gather outside government buildings in Hong Kong on September 29.Police walk down a stairwell as demonstrators gather outside government buildings in Hong Kong on September 29.
Stacks of umbrellas are ready for protesters to use as shields against pepper spray on September 29.Stacks of umbrellas are ready for protesters to use as shields against pepper spray on September 29.
Protesters turn the Chinese flag upside-down on September 29 outside a commercial building near the main Occupy Central protest area in Hong Kong.Protesters turn the Chinese flag upside-down on September 29 outside a commercial building near the main Occupy Central protest area in Hong Kong.
Protesters occupy a main road in the Central district of Hong Kong after riot police used tear gas against them on Sunday, September 28.Protesters occupy a main road in the Central district of Hong Kong after riot police used tear gas against them on Sunday, September 28.
Demonstrators disperse as tear gas is fired during a protest on September 28. There is an "optimal amount of police officers dispersed" around the scene, a Hong Kong police representative said.Demonstrators disperse as tear gas is fired during a protest on September 28. There is an "optimal amount of police officers dispersed" around the scene, a Hong Kong police representative said.
Police use pepper spray and tear gas against demonstrators September 28. The protests, which have seen thousands of students in their teens and 20s take to the streets, swelled in size over the weekend.Police use pepper spray and tear gas against demonstrators September 28. The protests, which have seen thousands of students in their teens and 20s take to the streets, swelled in size over the weekend.
Riot police clash with protesters on September 28. Riot police clash with protesters on September 28.
Police and protesters clash during a tense standoff with thousands of student demonstrators, recently joined by the like-minded Occupy Central movement, on September 28.Police and protesters clash during a tense standoff with thousands of student demonstrators, recently joined by the like-minded Occupy Central movement, on September 28.
Benny Tai, center, founder of the Occupy Central movement, raises a fist after announcing the group would join the students during a demonstration outside government headquarters in Hong Kong on September 28.Benny Tai, center, founder of the Occupy Central movement, raises a fist after announcing the group would join the students during a demonstration outside government headquarters in Hong Kong on September 28.
Pro-democracy activist and former legislator Martin Lee wears goggles and a mask to protect against pepper spray on September 28.Pro-democracy activist and former legislator Martin Lee wears goggles and a mask to protect against pepper spray on September 28.
A pro-democracy activist shouts at police officers behind a fence with yellow ribbons on September 28. A pro-democracy activist shouts at police officers behind a fence with yellow ribbons on September 28.
A sign for the Hong Kong central government offices has been crossed out with red tape by democracy activists on September 28. A sign for the Hong Kong central government offices has been crossed out with red tape by democracy activists on September 28.
Pro-democracy protesters gather near government headquarters on September 29.Pro-democracy protesters gather near government headquarters on September 29.
Protesters gather during a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Legislative Counsel on September 28 as calls for Beijing to grant the city universal suffrage grow louder and more fractious.Protesters gather during a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Legislative Counsel on September 28 as calls for Beijing to grant the city universal suffrage grow louder and more fractious.
Protesters tie up barricades on September 28 during a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. Protesters tie up barricades on September 28 during a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong.
An injured protester is tended to after clashing with riot police outside Hong Kong government complex on Saturday, September 27. An injured protester is tended to after clashing with riot police outside Hong Kong government complex on Saturday, September 27.
Riot police use pepper spray on pro-democracy activists who forced their way into the Hong Kong government headquarters during a demonstration on September 27.Riot police use pepper spray on pro-democracy activists who forced their way into the Hong Kong government headquarters during a demonstration on September 27.
People watch from on high as pro-democracy demonstrators are surrounded by police after storming a courtyard outside Hong Kong's legislative headquarters on Friday, September 26. People watch from on high as pro-democracy demonstrators are surrounded by police after storming a courtyard outside Hong Kong's legislative headquarters on Friday, September 26.
Students march to Government House in Hong Kong on Thursday, September 25. Students march to Government House in Hong Kong on Thursday, September 25.
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Photos: Hong Kong unrestPhotos: Hong Kong unrest

But this seems unlikely.

What can come out of Hong Kong talks?
Police, protesters clash in Mong Kok
HK protesters retake streets after clash

Beijing unlikely to budge

Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung has said repeatedly that he would not step down -- a key demand of protesters.

Nor, Leung has said, is Beijing unlikely to budge on its prescription for electoral reform in the city and offer the kind of democracy protesters are seeking.

Even the moderator of the talks, Lingnan University President Leonard Cheng, warned not to expect too much:

"I'm not going to speculate at all about whether there will be a resolution," he said on Monday, adding that this would not be the only round of talks.

Five representatives from the Hong Kong Federation of Students including Alex Chow, the group's secretary general, and his deputy Lester Shum will meet with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's second in command, Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen and three other senior government officials or advisers.

The talks begin at 6 p.m. local time and will be broadcast live from The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in an event that will likely have the city's seven million residents gripped.

Some say they will hold viewing parties and the talks will be live-streamed to crowds on big screens set up in some areas -- including Mong Kok, a busy commercial district that has seen some of the most violent confrontations between demonstrators, police and residents that oppose the protests.

READ: Protests: Who's who?

Poor can't be trusted?

On Monday, Leung offered a controversial defense of Beijing's plan for elections in the financial capital, telling foreign media that an open nomination process would give the city's poorest residents greater influence over the political system.

"You have to take care of all the sectors in Hong Kong as much as you can," he said, according to the New York Times. "And if it's entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.

"Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies."

His comments are likely to rankle the protesters and their sympathizers given Hong Kong's yawning wealth gap and a widespread perception that the current system of government is stacked against ordinary citizens.

READ: Police force seen in new light

Wiggle room

One possible concession the government could make to immediately defuse tensions would be to re-open Civil Square -- a fenced off courtyard outside central government headquarters that students stormed at the end of September, triggering the unprecedented protests.

There is also still some possibility of give-and-take on electoral reform, such as allowing more democrats on the nomination committee or by promising to introduce greater democracy in elections slated in 2022.

The framework proposed for the election of the city's next leader in 2017 will allow registered voters to select their leader, although candidates must be approved by a committee that critics say will be stacked with Beijing loyalists and not be representative of Hong Kong.

Currently, the chief executive is elected by a specially-appointed 1,200-member election committee.

However, even if the talks yield concrete concessions, there is no guarantee that the protesters on the streets will go home.

There are several protest groups and it's not always clear who calls the shots or whether Hong Kong's young protesters will listen.

"I would want C.Y. to step down and for the government to show that they are sincere," protester Janice Tung told CNN.

CNN's Esther Pang, Anjali Tsui, Paula Newton, Pamela Boykoff and CNN Money's Charles Riley contributed to this report.

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