Thanks for the advice. I ended up with a Lenovo S2109, which has Google Play. I wanted the 4:3 aspect ratio in a 9.7 inch screen and neither of the Nexus devices had that, and the iPad is about twice the price of the Lenovo. The screen seems fine. I'm a little disappointed with the battery life, but I suppose that's the price you pay for getting a tablet instead of an eInk device. Ironically I was able to fix my old Kindle 2i so I have that as backup.
Regarding the future of Google and Android, I know that Google is being pretty aggressive about hiring good people to develop products for them, because they bought out one of my favorite TV/Video apps (SageTV) and have those people working for them now. I think they have big plans for Google Play.