Mastermind Closed Beta for Text Messaging and Phone Calls on Alexa is now available

We launched Mastermind on December 16th and believe that Mastermind will appeal to many of the over 6 million Alexa users. We decided to launch Mastermind as a closed beta so we can slowly add people to the system to make sure we handle scaling correctly. That is the reason behind the waitlist. We believe there is nothing more frustrating than an app that says it does great things and then crashes under heavy loads.

You do not have to pay to be a part of our beta. There is currently a 2 week wait period to get accepted into the beta and we are working hard to reduce that time even further. We first add people who have both the Mastermind Alexa Skill and Mastermind Android App linked in the order they enabled the skill.

For those who wish to bypass the waitlist altogether, we have a paid option for US $15 that will give you instant access to all the functionality of Mastermind during the closed beta. See the Mastermind Android companion app for details. The users who pay for instant access will get the first year for free when Mastermind comes out of closed beta and moves to a paid subscription service model.

If you are interested in seeing why we think Mastermind is going to be a popular skill, take a look at all the commands we support:
Mastermind Commands

Video of Mastermind in action:

NOTE: Mastermind is currently available for Android phones and tablets. iPhone support is planned for mid to late 2017.

The Mastermind team
December 2016

45 thoughts on “Mastermind Closed Beta for Text Messaging and Phone Calls on Alexa is now available

  1. Nick Reply

    Can’t wait to see this in action. This appears to be the skill my elderly mother needs to be able to utilize the telephone in a fall or other incapacitating accident. If it works I’ll be singing it’s praises far and wide, as I’m already an Alexa promoter.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Nick,

      We would love to have you on our beta and then once you have vetted this, have your mom use Mastermind as well! Enable the Mastermind skill on Alexa, link your account, download the companion Android app and get everything setup. We are currently in closed beta, so there is about a 2 week wait to enter the beta.

      Best,
      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Gwen,

      Thanks for the patient wait on our waitlist. You have been granted access into the beta.

      Mastermind is one of the most complex skills available for Alexa. Due to the high demand we are seeing, when you enable the skill you are added to a wait-list. Every day we grant people on the wait-list access to the beta. The wait-list is necessary to ensure that our system scales/performs correctly.

      In general, for people that linked both the Alexa Skill and Android Companion App there is about a 2 week wait from the time they registered.

      We hope you are enjoying using Mastermind. We would love your feedback as that is an essential component of the Closed Beta program even though we have a fully-functional Mastermind skill and companion apps:

      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0HFLPG/

      Best,

      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  2. Vickie Bostic Reply

    How much would it cost if I wanted to pay for Early Access? What are the restrictions I will finf in your app if I only have a DOT instead of an Echo?

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Vickie,

      It is $15 for instant access (bypass the waitlist entirely) to get full and unlimited access to the closed beta. For those who pay the $15, they will get the first year of Mastermind for free when we come out of closed beta and move into an annual subscription service.

      Note that the waitlist is necessary due to the high demand we are seeing and our desire to make sure that we scale our server capacity correctly so everybody using the system has instant responses. Every day we grant people on the waitlist access to the beta. It is currently about a 2+ week wait on the waitlist for the closed beta.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions. We are always available at support@convessa.com.

      Best,
      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  3. Robert H Phillips Reply

    Simply amazing. I am disabled and have trouble getting around and sometimes with typing. I look forward to using this to ease some of the burdens in my daily life. I have found other ways but this appears to be much simpler and fluid. I’m waiting on the wings.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Robert,

      We thank you for waiting patiently in the queue. We have sent you an email to your gmail and awaiting a response from you regarding the gmail address you used to link the Mastermind skill on Alexa. You are next in line, so we can get you into the beta immediately. Please email us back at support@convessa.com with the information.

      Best,

      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Isaiah,

      We have a 2-ish week wait at the moment for the beta. Again, the reason we are doing this is to manage scaling properly so things work smoothly for those who are currently in the beta. For voice experiences to be effective, they need to feel instant and any delay really makes for not a great experience. We want to maintain a superb feeling experience for all the beta users and hence the waitlist.

      Best,
      Nik
      co founder of Mastermind

      • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

        hi Kenneth,

        Yes, it does work in the UK. See a UK tech blogger review Mastermind below:

        Cheers,

        Nik

  4. Anneliese Eggert Reply

    Will this work on an iPad. If so, would make the payment for immediate access but can’t seem to find the site o do that on. Can you help?

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Anneliese,

      Apple support is planned for late 2017. The key premise of Mastermind is full accessibility of your phone from Alexa without touching your phone. 30+ features spanning SMS text messaging using your carrier assigned number, making phone calls, getting all your notifications, launching apps, getting data usage etc.

      At the moment, Apple gives 3rd party applications very limited ability to integrate deeply with the phone. We do not want Mastermind users to sign up for a completely new SMS/Phone number. We believe that people should be able to use their existing phone number they are already paying a lot of money for and not confuse their friends and family with a new number. Unfortunately, Apple neither allows third party applications to send or receive a text message on your behalf nor place an outgoing phone call for you. We are trying to figure out if there are acceptable workarounds to these restrictions that Apple puts on third parties even if the iPhone user is completely ok with an app like Mastermind to do things like send messages and make phone calls.

      So Apple users, stay tuned. We will have something great for you. It may just be of a slightly different flavor than the dish we are currently serving your Android cousins.

      Thanks,
      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  5. Paul Jutras Reply

    I have a close friend who has had MS for close to 30 years. He has an Echo and I will be seeing him Friday. I’ll down load the skill and app for him. This should be great for him as he no longer has use of his hands. Can’t wait to tell him. Sounds great!
    Thank you.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Paul, Please email us at support@convessa.com. Let’s see if we can help your friend out. We will need the gmail that you used to link the Mastermind skill on Alexa and the Mastermind app on his Android phone.

      Nik Bhattacharya
      Co CEO of Convessa

  6. Martin Reply

    I’m a disabled guy and this sounds perfect for me who struggles daily being stuck in a powered chair.

    Will it work in the UK at the moment because if so I’d like to try it by paying the bypass fee as it would be so helpful to my daily life.

    Kind regards

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Martin,

      It absolutely does work in the UK. In fact, it even has the British Accent. It does a whole lot of really useful things (almost 20 different commands) and we see that you have installed the Alexa skill as well as have your phone all set to go. If you do want to purchase the early access, you will get all the features instantly and will in addition, get the first year of Mastermind for free when we move out of closed beta.

      Please email us at support@convessa.com if you have any questions.

      Nik

  7. Cindy Reply

    I’ve read everything thing I can about Mastermind and wow, it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to get my email. Thanks for developing this!

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for signing up. Please make sure you have both the Alexa side and the Android side ready to go. There is a 2 to 3 week wait for the closed beta because of the huge demand we are seeing. Please be patient. We promise you it is worth it. It really does work as advertised.

      Best,
      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  8. Samuel Leonard Reply

    So far Alexa has been awesome. I can’t wait to try this skill. It seems as though it has thought of just about everything. If it works as advertised, I can see this being the best skill that echo has to offer.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Samuel,

      We stand by the product. The video that you see here is actually me using the real product and that’s why people are so happy that it’s not a great video and then when you get the product, it’s totally something else. The main thing people are saying in the reviews of Mastermind on Alexa is:

      “it works as advertised”

      Please sign up, get the Android app and email us at support@convessa.com. Note that there is a waitlist for 2 to 3 weeks as we are seeing very heavy demand for the closed beta, but there is also a paid option of $15 for instant access. If you pay the $15 for instant access, you will get the first year of Mastermind for free when we finish the beta program and move to an **very reasonably priced** annual subscription fee model. You will not be disappointed.

      Best regards,

      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  9. Granville N Gilbert Reply

    I think this is what I need. I bought the Echo in case I would need it if I became disabled. I am 80 now, and need to plan ahead. However, apparently my phone does not have the required Android version. What type of phone do I need? I can upgrade if necessary.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hello Granville, we would love to welcome you to Mastermind. It works beautifully for those who have a few accessibility concerns. You would need to upgrade your phone to at least Android 5.0 and above (Lollipop and above for those who are familiar with the Android versions). We actually have quite a few users very much like yourself who are absolutely loving Mastermind (see a review here: Review of Mastermind on Amazon).

      Please email us at support@convessa.com when you have a newer Android phone and we will be happy to help you come onboard Mastermind. You will of course need an Alexa (either an Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap). The Dots run about $50 and are fun to use as well.

      Best,
      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  10. Elise Reply

    This sounds great I have a special needs child that this might help a lot how soon can I be up and running. Thank you so much in advance

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Elise, we would be delighted to have you and your child on Mastermind. Please check your email.

      Regards,
      Nik
      Co founder of Mastermind

  11. Ian Plummer Reply

    Ok, maybe I missed something. Maybe I’m too late and missed the boat. I’d like to take the option to jump the queue and pay you some money. However I don’t see an option on the website (Mastermind or Convessa), in the Android app or indeed in the Chrome extension.
    Can someone please tell me how I (or anyone else) go about taking up this option? Many thanks.

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Ian,

      The option to jump the queue is in the Mastermind Android app. Make sure you have the latest version, go to the settings (the gear icon), go to General and then “Pay for instant access”.

      It is also on the “card” that is on the main screen in the app. Look for “GET INSTANT ACCESS”.

      Either way will get you in and you will be able to not only jump the queue, but also get yourself one FREE year of Mastermind when we come out of closed beta.

      Thanks,

      Nik

  12. Rick H Reply

    Will you be able to send text from 2 different phones. If I wanted to text from my phone and my wife from her phone?

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Rick,

      Amazon Echos and Echo Dots can have multiple users each with their own skills/companion apps. So you and your wife could each have the Mastermind skill enabled in your own Amazon accounts and once you setup your Alexa with multiple users, all you would have to do is the following:

      Alexa, Switch User

      Alexa will announce which account is currently active and then if it is your wife’s account, the messages will be hers. If it is your account, the messages will be yours. Not ideal, but that’s how Alexa has set it up for now.

  13. Jessica Oulacha Reply

    I have just downloaded this app and love it. It works perfectly with Alexa. However, in the demo video, it shows a driver using it to navigate and make phone calls hands-free while driving. How do you use this function on your phone when you are not home next to your Alexa device

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Jessica, it’s Nik the Co Founder of Mastermind.

      The car scene has a regular (non-smart) car. We used an Amazon Tap (the Portable Alexa device made by Amazon) that you can buy from Amazon: https://goo.gl/70Wf5T

      We also used a portable internet device that the Amazon Tap connects to. An internet device is available through most phone carriers and can be added to your phone plan.

      Logitech has just announced a device that is a car mount with Alexa woken up with a hand gesture. It’s called Logitech Zero Touch. You might want to look into that as well.

      Hope that helps.

  14. Brenda Reply

    Hi mastermind
    I think I am going to enjoy this app as a disabled customer.
    I have gone on to the waiting list.
    What I would like to ask
    I noticed that if you payed for that app your frust year is free.
    My question is if your on the waiting list how much would it cost for the first year

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Brenda,

      Indeed, if you pay the $15 you will get the first year of Mastermind for free once we finish our closed beta.

      We have not yet locked down pricing but promise our users that this is going to be an absolutely affordable option for most everybody. The current annual price we are considering is somewhere between US $20 and $25 (per year) in order to cover our costs and ensure continued development and support for the Mastermind Bots. This will be for unlimited texts, unlimited phone calls, unlimited casting of photos to Chromecast and unlimited app notifications. We hope that those beta users who we let in for free will consider upgrading to the annual subscription after the closed beta ends in a few months.

      Hope this answers your question. We would love to have you on board whether as a beta tester or an instant-access user.

      Best,

      Nik Bhattacharya
      co founder of Mastermind

  15. Doug Reply

    This seems like the ultimate companion for Alexa and more. Can’t wait to try this out, I installed everything yesterday and have been reading everything I can find. Question, will I be notified once the 2-week wait is over or should I just set a reminder for 2 weeks and give it a try? Also loaded Chrome extension so maybe I can check from there, not sure.

    Thanks for having me

  16. Dennis Priebe Reply

    My father is legally blind and living alone. This I believe would help him to be more independent. He is very much in to trying to help others that are new to being blind and how to live your life as independently as possible. No one wants to be a burden to other people. This I think can help greatly. Thank you for this app. I can not wait to see how much this will help him.

  17. Lee Reply

    I cannot wait to be included in this. I keep checking my emails lol. Keep up the good work Mastermind!. Best skill by far..

  18. Jarrett Simonds Reply

    My patient coordinator, working with my oncologist and medical team, told me about this Alexa/Chrome/Android app/skill…and to be honest, I didn’t believe all the hype she expressed, and hoped such an Alexa skill child offer me!!

    I’m 44 years old, and have suffered two minor chemo related strokes, while undergoing an intensive chemotherapy clinical trial. Having gone from being totally healthy one month, to progressing to what’s now Stage 4 cancer, I’ve lost many abilities I once took for granted. Easily communicating via text being one of them.

    Sure, I can use voice-to-text features on my phone or laptop, and do so regularly. But with 5 strategically placed Amazon Alexa Dots throughout my home, I’m only a “voice away” from help, communication, information, etc. I utilize Alexa skills hourly, to maximize my quality of life, independence, and ensure I’m safe/cared for if an emergency arises (like with the skill, Ask My Buddy). But I’ve not been able to TEXT and COMMUNICATE if I’m away from my phone or laptop.

    So often I’m either sick, on the bathroom floor, in bed and so nauseated that even rolling over and searching for my phone to text something/someone is too exhausting. OH WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE to be able to just SPEAK ALOUD my text to family or friends!!

    I’m REALLY excited about Mastermind, and if the hype is even 50% accurate, this skill will be helpful to me in SO MANY WAYS! I’ll be able to retain autonomy, enhance my contact and communication with others, and a lifeline to the world beyond my disease and home when I’m not next to my cellphone or laptop, but still needing to be in contact!

    I’ve asked to be on the waiting list, and REALLY HOPE I’ll come up soon with an invite to join the beta. I’m not some tech guru who’s input is important and valued by blog readers. Nor am I a big wig that will give this new skill a huge bump in free advertising because I know a million people, and they all hang on my every suggestion for their life. I’m just a person, like probably most of your eventual cushioned, who’s got daily, hourly, and professionally important needs for Mastermind in their life. To the guru and big wigs, this is novel and interesting. To me…it’s a lifeline, aiding me in communicating with my daughter, friends, family, and support people on my life. THAT’S WHY I’m so excited about being a part of this!

    I’m on the waiting list, and have linked Mastermind to Chrome, my Android phone, and of course, my Alexa Dots. I’m hoping my name comes up soon, for inclusion in the use of Mastermind. If the wait becomes too long, I’ll scrape together the fifteen dollars to immediately join. I’d pay that right now, wanting this skill as badly as I do, but even the nominal charge isn’t in my strict budget. Fighting this disease and desperation to just pay for meds takes more than I can scrape together each week. So, I’m counting on the waiting list! 🙂

    To whomever came up with this idea, works on its development, and is behind the scenes in is evolving into MASTERMIND, I want you to know that to this skinny chemo guy, YOU’RE AWESOME and building something SO IMPORTANT and far beyond being “a really cool Alexa Skill”.

    P.S…THANK YOU Amanda for telling me about Mastermind! It’s as awesome as you described!!

    – Jarrett

  19. Shawn Parker Reply

    Another disabled customer here. I just bought the early beta membership. Is there any idea when we will be able to make phone calls through the Amazon Echo? I think this will be very helpful. Hopefully it would never be needed but being able to make a 911 call through the Echo would be great.

  20. David Pagel Reply

    Mastermind is a great idea just in it’s infancy. Amazon is a great way to go about launching. The very fact that Amazon is pairing up with this speaks volumes…congraduations.

  21. Monica Reply

    Incredible App! And to think this type of technology is just in its infancy. How exciting! Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into developing Mastermind.

    Wondering if there is anything that can be done to help Mastermind pronounce my name correctly. Alexa is able to pronounce Monica but when in The Mastermind mode my name can’t be pronounce correctly. The device usually says “Mastermind heard monacat” and has asked if I meant mom and dad or Margaret.

    Thanks again Nick!

  22. Paul Tyronney Reply

    Hi very excited to get access for the beta.

    Currently I have echo dot an Google home so able to test both

  23. Brandon O'Donnell Reply

    I just downloaded and and enabled the skill and I simply love this great job…This will be an awesome skill

  24. Holly Reply

    This will the Alexa everything it should have been. What will the yearly fee be? About $180? ETA on full release?

    • Nik Bhattacharya Post authorReply

      Hi Holly,

      It will be most likely $20 per year on full release (definitely not $180 !!) The ETA on full release is early summer.

      Thanks,

      Nik Bhattacharya
      Co Founder of Mastermind

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