I dropped my Nexus S into a draft pint by accident while reaching the other day so I've since upgraded to a Nexus 4. I only have a family members iPhone 5 to compare it to but the stock Android experience on 4.2 has now definitely surpassed iOS on modern hardware. There is just so much more you can do with it even without 3rd party apps and performance is fantastic. I have no idea about long term build quality yet for obvious reasons but it seems reasonably well constructed. My only dislike is a non-user removable battery and no SD card (again). Google seems to hate SD cards for some reason.
Also too bad about the Nook, they were pretty nice units. I am married to my Kindle but I have played with a friends Nook ST and it was really comfortable to use.
Edit - nevermind:
Update: We've heard from a Barnes & Noble spokesperson who has said that "we have no plans to discontinue our award-winning line of NOOK products".