Interested in switching to android.

So I haven't used android since 1.6. It was kind of bad, so I got an iPhone 4 and I've used that for about 2 years now. Now my contract is up and I'm looking at some android phones, but I have a few questions since I haven't used android since forever ago and my google-fu isn't particularly strong it seems.

A phone recommendation would be great. Since I'm on Verizon I would like something I can root and get my stock android on. Most of the skins are not appealing, and I really would prefer having the latest android release.

Is there anything like iTunes for syncing an android device? This is the most important part for me. I listen to a lot of podcast and music at work, so being able to easily manage these things is critical. I prefer something I can use in Ubuntu, but since I'm virtual boxing windows anyway for iTunes It's not too big of a deal.

Am I stuck on an iPhone? It's a solid device, but I want to explore a world outside of grids and grids and grids of folders. Perhaps WP8?