We probably all know by now that Flash memory prices are falling, what's not always obvious is just how fast.

I had an interesting - albeit tangential - chat with one of the companies at the recent NetEvents forum on the topic of USB sticks. That's the Flash memory thumb-drives, pen-drives or whatever you want to call them, that often come as freebies with a supplier's name on the side.

According to my informant, companies wanting these gadgets to give away (or sell!) now buy them six months ahead at a predicted future price - in other words, they're buying futures.

Of course, just like trading futures in any other commodity, there's the chance that prices might fall faster than you think, in which case you'll end up over-paying.

My informant told me that 16GB USB sticks are about to reach giveaway status (they've been available in limited quantities for some time), and that while they're currently $75 to $100 a pop to consumers, the futures market means that the trade is getting them for just $29.