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Older GSM phones could be hooked up to a PC and you could access the baseband chip through e.g. minicom or hyperterminal and give it AT commands, usually through a serial/rs232 or USB connection between the phone and the PC.

A lot of software also exists to use GSM phones as e.g. SMS gateway - which basically works by getting a serial connection to the phone and communicating with AT commands. Can one do the same with a HTC Desire, or other Android phones ?

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Wow, that brings back memories. I used to know a scary amount of AT commands by heart and could troubleshoot most modem connection problems by listening to them, but can't say I've ever wanted to revisit those days with a modern phone! Most standard tethering implementations install the phone as a Windows Networking device rather than a modem emulator, no idea if any third party or manufacturer does this. –  GAThrawn Oct 6 '11 at 10:56
    
You apparently can do this with the HTC Vision, at least. I found instructions here which are based on a Linux/Unix environment. I tried the same instructions on my EVO and it hung when I issued the rtask C command, so it appeared to be trying to do something, but not working (maybe because it's a CDMA2000 phone? Not sure). You could give that a try but I have no idea if it works on other HTC devices. –  eldarerathis Oct 7 '11 at 13:37
    
Hmm, ok that's how far I got as well(connecting USB thru virtualbox/ubuntu on a windows host) rtask C hangs it. Though it appears , after a while, as a different device but disabled, with a device guid {36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}.... –  nos Oct 7 '11 at 19:04
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