Just in case no one answers, I will a bit later. Just got off work and beat.
Congrats on the galaxy. Del has one and loves it.
I'm sure there's software that will back up. You could just copy your sd card contents periodically. Your contacts, calendar are backed up to Google whenever you add a new contact, reboot. If you're using Gmail your emails are actually kept on their servers. You can delete them but they remain in the trash on the server until you go online and delete.
As for restoring, shouldn't need to. A factory reset will wipe it all so don't unless you're sure. If you don't root then its doubtful you will do anything to need a restore. Since you can't access system folder without root. Root only apps (usually) wont run without root, so pretty safe.
As far as swapping, you wouldn't do anything assuming you stay with Android. When you first booted your SG2 you had to run setup. On a new phone you would do the same, using your Google login, which would auto sync all your contacts and emails and calendar.
As for apps just search the market. Best weather is BeWeather (free is good but buy that one). As for the others I'm sure you will find most.
I use a rooted Evo 3D, and a rooted Galaxy Tab 10.1.
I love that its mine. HTC or Sammy (or Google) tells me how its gotta look, what I can use, etc. Both my devices run smoothly stock and with their custom ROMS.