On Thursday, Pageonce released a native application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that AT&T might have considered when it won the iPhone's exclusive carrier rights in the U.S. Cell Minute Tracker (99 cents) keeps tabs on your cell phone usage, data plan, rollover minutes, SMS costs, and payments on a relatively compact page that has additional features AT&T doesn't provide you on the phone.
You'll need to register for a MyAccount login from AT&T.com for Cell Minute Tracker to work. The app speaks directly to AT&T's online minutes-tracking service to bring you a native experience from the iPhone, though you can certainly get the information for free by visiting AT&T's site on Safari, or by finding a shortcut to this page in the iPhone's Settings menu. What the app's nominal price point boils down to is convenience and an early warning system if you're about to go over your allotted minutes or are nearing billing time. If you've got limited minutes or are monitoring the usage of family members or employees who are also gathered under the same plan, seeing those details gathered in one place is a boon.
The same goes for those who frequently miss payment due dates. Cell Minute Tracker automatically flies a red badge when you open to app to alert you when you've hit 90 percent of your plan limits, or when your bill is due. In the future, the app will e-mail you this information.
You're also able to pay your AT&T bills from the iPhone (or iPod Touch if you have an AT&T cell phone in addition to your Touch) from another tab, although the 'Make a Payment' button is actually only a shortcut to AT&T's site, not an integrated feature. However, it appears to transfer your log-in info, a big help on keeping time-consuming typing down. Cell Minute Tracker also employs 128-bit encryption to shield your details.
Also on our wish list is a way to view a detailed copy of your bill, and break-downs of call and SMS activity, unlike CallCounter, a similar app for jailbroken iPhones. If all you want to do is view your minutes or pay your bill, there are free ways to do them separately online or via a call. Cell Minute Tracker gets its greatest value from bringing the summary to you in a pretty package. When it builds in the additional features on our wish list, the application will appeal to even more U.S. users.