[Update 2014: This is obsolete. Google Keep solves the problem better now.]

In July I switched from an iPhone to a Galaxy Nexus running Android Jellybean.

I was fed up with Apple’s sue-happy arrogance and with being locked to AT&T (I travel; AT&T’s international roaming rates are highway robbery).

Plus Jellybean just looked like a more advanced platform. Google’s price of $350 unlocked and usable anywhere in the world was a great deal. When Apple got an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, I pulled the trigger and snapped one up before it got yanked off the market.

Back in 2009 I went thru a painful transition from the Palm Treo to the iPhone. One of the big issues then was getting my memos onto the iPhone in a form that was:

  • Synchronized with the PC (so I can edit on either device)
  • Reasonably secure (encrypted sync)
  • Editable offline (on either the PC or the phone)

My solution was to store memos in the “notes” field of address book entries. This synced securely with Google Contacts and I could edit my memos offline. It worked great.

Unfortunately the Android version of Google Contacts has a limitation on the size of the “notes” field. Neither the iPhone or the web version of Google Contacts have this problem, but I had plenty of memos that were too long to read on Android.

So I decided to move the memos into Google Drive (ex-Google Docs) files, thinking I could edit those on the phone or PC.

It turns out you can’t edit Google Drive documents when you’re offline. Also, the Google editor is complex enough to take an annoyingly long time to start on the phone (when I just want to check my shopping list).

But Dropbox works great:

  • Store the memos in Dropbox as plain text.
  • Put a shortcut to the memos folder on your “links” toolbar in Windows
  • Put the Dropbox widget (direct link to the memos folder) in the Android dock
  • Mark the memo files with a star (“favorite” them), so Dropbox will cache them locally in the phone for offline access.

That’s it. You can edit either on the PC or phone, and it syncs securely. It’s even smart enough to create a “conflict” copy if you make conflicting changes on the PC and phone.

I’m disappointed with Google Drive – this should be easy. And I don’t see why they put the size limit on Android address book notes (when there isn’t one on the PC or iPhone).

I’ll say this – the transition to Android was easy; nothing like the nightmare moving to the iPhone.

I think Apple has started a long, slow descent into irrelevance. They must think so too – winners compete, losers sue.