yeah this is nothing new. its not limited to just smartphones with pattern keys but can give away your passcode/key to doors and other devices that require to to touch buttons. an old company i worked for clearly used its address as the code since those were the buttons with their writing nearly rubbed off.
that said, i take care to wipe my phones touch screen off regularly during the day even though it rarely leaves my pocket/sight.
The first thing I though of when I read this article was the mission in the first Splinter Cell where you have to use the heat goggles to get past the numeric keypad after the guard goes through the door.
Anyone who lets the phone out of their sight is an idiot!
Hmmm, if they had time to sit there and fiddle with your phone and get your data, they would have had enough time to turn it off and slip it into their pocket.
If the issue was the data then you are placing way too much expectations on the data security of the phone OS. Even if this was a Windows notebook most people could attach the HDD as a secondary drive and read all the data.
So what exactly then is issue - were you expecting impregnable self destruct type security? Me, I would be more pissed off I lost a very decent phone.