This solution is on a few other blogs but I decided to duplicate it because in my opinion it needs to be posted as many times as possible.
I loaned my wife my HTC Hero because her phone was out of battery. It never even crossed my mind that I needed to give her the unlock pattern. Of course, she tried to figure out the unlock pattern by herself and ended up locking the phone with a ‘To many failed pattern attempts” message. When she gave me the phone back, it needed to be unlocked with my email address and password. I thought to myself “Cool, my phone has a way to keep people from brute forcing my password”. But it wasn’t cool, there is a bug in the Hero (and apparently lots of other Android phones) where this screen never actually tries to unlock the phone. When I put in my email address and password, it didn’t even try to unlock the phone, it simply denied me every time. I’m not kidding, on an HTC Hero with firmware version 1.5, if you unsuccessfully enter your unlock pattern too many times, then you have essentially bricked your phone!
I was already dissatisfied with my phone before any of this happened; I really thought that my opinion of the phone and Android systems altogether could not be any lower. Then I found the solution. Apparently there is a bug or more likely an intentional back door in these phones. If you enter the word ‘null’ (omitting the quotes) in the password field (the email address is still necessary), then the phone will tell you to enter a new pattern and you will have bypassed the phone’s security altogether. A bug that fixes a bug, WOW!
I find myself thinking that my smart phone simply isn’t worth the trouble. At least ‘dumb’ phones are good at being phones. I am seriously considering reverting back to a ‘dumb’ phone. Actually, what I really want is a phone that is a ‘dumb’ phone with a web browser. I want to be able to say ‘No, there is not an app for that on my phone and there never will be’. I’m considering making my next phone a Windows based phone. At least Windows has an alternative way of making money besides selling my personal info.