Thanks for the recommendations! I have to admit I am a bit surprised a lot of this stuff isn't already built in, especially something like unread counts! But I'll still give it a try. To anyone interested, this is some of the functionality I will be trying to emulate:
IntelliScreenX Teaser - YouTube
Notifier+ App Review - YouTube
(ignore the first 30 seconds about him launching into his e-mail)
The custom notification rules is REALLY the thing that is a MUST have. I have a programming background so Tasker will be a piece of cake. I guess I may miss some of the simplicity of the iOS apps but I can learn to live with it.